By School of Dentistry - September 24, 2013

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.

LLUSD health care team plus two (back row L-R): Jeremy Heldt, Elijah Wang, Danny Yang, Dr. Scott Smith, Dr. David Brodeur, Miguel Hernandez, principal, New Horizons SDA School, Dr. Clark Bassham; (front row (L-R): Samira Chinichian, Ella Chen, Janelle Bedford, Sun Choi, Rose Chkeiban, church girl

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.”



Sun Choi screens a patient at the New Horizons School while Dr. Brodeur mentors Danny Yang in the background.

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.


At the Caye Caulker community center, waiting room and operatory are one. Elijah Wang and Ella Chen (left) collaborate while Sun Choi sits with a patient in the foreground.

The various procedures accomplished totaled as follows:


Screenings: 181
Amalgam restorations: 66
Prophylaxes: 58
Composite restorations: 43
Extractions: 37
SRPs: 6
Pulpotomies: 2


Janelle Bedford works solo at New Horizons.

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.



A patient assists Sun Choi at New Horizons.

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.”





Sightseeing quintet (L-R): Sun Choi, Samira Chinichian, Janelle Bedord, Rose Chkeiban, and Ella Chen pose at the Lamanai ruins in northern Belize.

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.”





Storm watchers: Elijah Wang, Sun Choi, Ella Chen, Janelle Bedford, and Danny Yang