Fifteen independent Aspen Dental practitioners ran a free dental clinic over a week in November, aimed at breaking down barriers to care worldwide
In partnership with Global Dental Relief, a team of 15 independent Aspen Dental practitioners traveled to Akumal, Mexico to provide free dental care to more than 1,140 patients in the area over the course of a week. The company’s Overseas Outreach Program brings in a team of dentists, hygienists, dental assistants and lab technicians to countries in need of free dental care. The program has been active for more than five years and has served communities in Guatemala, Argentina and Mexico, among others.
While in Akumal, the team provided 501 cleanings, 521 fluoride treatments and 63 extractions, all free of charge. Children made up roughly 40% of the patients served during the trip. In addition to treating patients’ immediate needs, doctors and dental staff also provided oral hygiene lessons to almost 600 children to educate them on dental hygiene with the goal of improving the community’s oral health for years to come.
“These kids are so joyful and have so much fun and there’s so much love in the community here. The issue is they truly don’t have the same access to care here that we do in the U.S., so being able to be a part of this and to teach them and to treat their cavities and their disease is really special,” said Lauren McDonough, DMD, vice president, practice owner development, Aspen Dental, who plays a large role in planning these outreach trips. “We really brought together a great group of doctors, hygienists, office managers, dental assistants and more. This group was so cohesive — not caring what their position was, just there for the mission and to bring better care to the kids in Akumal.”
“My whole family is from Mexico, so I think it’s just super important to give back to everybody, but especially where you’re from,” said Haidee Aguiniga, a Lead Dental Assistant in the Aspen Dental network. “I wanted to be able to travel and make a difference, and that was the main reason why I was so excited to go on this trip. I wouldn’t have had this opportunity to serve in Mexico without being part of the Aspen Dental team and am grateful that these types of outreach programs exist for us to participate in.”
The success of this trip builds on the ongoing impact of Aspen Dental’s Healthy Mouth Movement (HMM), a community-giving initiative launched in 2014 to deliver free dental care to those who need it most. Since the launch of HMM, dentists and their teams from Aspen Dental-branded offices have donated over $26 million in dentistry services to more than 33,000 people in need worldwide. Meeting the unique needs of underserviced communities is a core part of Aspen Dental’s mission. The Aspen Dental network spans more than 1,000 independent practitioners and, as the network of offices expands, Aspen Dental continues to make strides toward providing access to quality, affordable dental care for all who need it.
The Overseas Outreach Program provides opportunities for Aspen Dental network practitioners to travel the world while developing their skills and serving those who need dental care the most. The Overseas Outreach Program is only one of the many development opportunities that Aspen Dental branded practices provide to its employees. To learn more about careers at Aspen Dental and to view open positions, please visit https://careers.aspendental.com/us/en.