With the assistance of Scott Smith, DDS’09, assistant professor, Oral Diagnosis, Radiology and Pathology, and Clark Bassham, DDS’11, a private practitioner in Anchorage, Alaska, recently retired School of Dentistry assistant professor of Restorative Dentistry, David Brodeur, DDS’71, MPA, led eight students on an extended, June (14-28) service learning trip to the town of San Pedro on the island of Ambergris Caye just off the Caribbean coast of Belize.
It was Dr. Brodeur’s eighth such student-mentoring visit to Belize. The San Pedro Sun, one of the local newspapers, said “Dr. David Brodeur [is] known on the island as ‘Dr. B.’” Dr. Brodeur explained to Sun readers the nature of the services the Loma Linda team was providing. “We do fillings and screenings, [but] we don’t do, for instance, things like root canals; we refer them to local dentists here in Belize. This time we have two senior dental hygiene students who are cleaning teeth as well. We also do some extractions but we try not to do it in places that it will be a problem to their health since we are not on the island long enough to do follow ups.”
For this most recent trip, Dr. Scott specified the services provided:
We did four days of free dentistry for children and adults at the New Horizon’s SDA School in San Pedro and then took a water taxi to [the nearby island of] Caye Caulker for two days of dentistry there. We also worshipped with the local SDAs on the two Sabbaths we were in San Pedro. Our trip was a little different than most LLUSD mission trips in that we did more restorative work than extractions. San Pedro has three or four dentists on the island, so urgent dental treatments (extractions mostly) are taken care of. We focused more on amalgam and composite fillings. In fact, several of the dental students had the opportunity to do anterior esthetic composite cases, which is a bit unusual for a mission trip.
The various procedures accomplished totaled as follows:
Amalgam restorations: 66
Composite restorations: 43
It appears from the photos taken that this service-learning trip had its perks. The students participating included six dental students from the class of 2014: Elijah Wang, Daniel Yang, Sun Choi, Janelle Bedford, Ella Chen, Jeremy Heldt; and two dental hygiene students from the class of 2014: Rose Chkeiban and Samira Chinichian.
According to Dr. Scott, “over the past 15 years Dr. Brodeur has established connections with the dental board of Belize, the local SDA school/church and the local people to make these trips successful.”
Dr. Brodeur told the Sun that the service learning trips are “a great experience for our students at Loma Linda University. We try to influence their lives at this point to be of service to people around them… . We want to show them that Jesus Christ is the center of our university, and we want to show them that it makes one feel really good to do things for other people just as He did.”