2016 Share a Smile dental mission to Nootka Sound...Here's what Kayla & Lisa had to say about their experience... I had the opportunity to join a team of 4 hygienists to adventure out to the west coast of Vancouver Island in September 2016. I decided to embark on this adventure to share my skills as a hygienist with people that cannot readily access dental care in their community. Profession-ally, as a hygienist, this trip opened my eyes to the limited access to care that so many people in our own province struggle with and how it affects their overall health and quality of life. The limited amount of time we spent in each community only allowed for us to provide a small amount of care for these people, but it made a huge impact in their lives: we provided education that will serve their health for the rest of their lives and also to be passed down generations, we provided immediate hygiene therapy to improve their current health status and empower them to improve their hygiene habits at home. We also had people smile with their teeth showing after a confidence boost aesthetically! These clinical experiences re-ignited my passion for my profession and desire to make a difference in people’s health. Personally, I was also able to build relationships with the people we encountered: we shared life stories, shared meals together, and shared in their culture. I personally loved interacting with the children in the communities we visited, and hope to be able to continue to visit them with future mission trips. Building these relationships with the communities we visited could be strengthened with annual or semi-annual trips, sharing compassion and care, and building trust with the members of the communities which in turn would increase compliance and attendance to clinics! Thank you BCDHA for the grant, Dr. Lathangue at Dogwood Dental for sponsoring me for my trip and to Share A Smile Society for making these trips possible for us to interact and impact so many people’s lives.
Kayla Rau, BSc, RDH Volunteer Share A Smile 2016
If you are looking for a local volunteer experience, Share a Smile is a great charity to volunteer with. It all started with asking myself, how can I help people with the skills I've learned outside of my regular work setting? After going to the PDC and talking with someone who had a booth set up who does International charity work, I knew I was ready to do a dental mission. I looked internationally but have felt for a long time, since living and then working in remote areas early in my career in the NWT, that there are still areas in Canada where access to care is difficult so I was really excited when I came upon an advertisement for a local mission.
I met the team at the crack of dawn in early September and we set off in the RV, then jumped in a water taxi, followed by a pick up truck ride, one more water taxi and then finally reached the first stop of our two week adventure to a remote area off of Vancouver Island called Kyuquot. We set up the clinic and then had some time to take in the scenery. I enjoyed the isolation of the area. With no cell and minimal internet service, the team really got to know each other quickly and everything just seemed to work out smoothly. During the clinic days we all pitched in to make sure that we could provide care to as many people as possible. While working with the team of Dental Hygienist's from all over BC, the different setting and equipment, gave me a new perspective on my approach to dental hygiene. There were definitely a few thinking outside my regular routine moments which I have taken the knowledge from and used to adapt to my professional practice. I have to admit there were times I was missing the ease of my fully functioning ergonomic room back at the dental office. Things really did just seem to click with this group, volunteering in the clinic, packing and loading our equipment when we were on the move to the next community, and sharing meals and accommodations. We had several people who were quite surprised to find out the team of volunteers had just met! We also had some time set aside to go and talk with the preschool and elementary school children about preventative care. This became a bit of an adventure when the locals announced there was a bear wandering around near the school. I will remember to pack bear spray next time! It is a very relaxed pace of life in the remote communities that we visited, which included Tahsis, Zebellos, Esperensa and Kyuquot. Living so close to nature and the water was different than what I'm use to. The people in all of our stops were incredibly easy going and welcoming. We got to enjoy conversation and delicious potlucks with the locals who wanted to show us their appreciation for volunteering our time. The otters, humpback whales and salmon we spotted on our daily commute and bioluminescence in the evenings, added to such an incredible experience. I do hope that the charity will continue to have the interest and volunteers that are able to follow up with regular maintenance for people in these isolated areas of Canada.
It was my first time visiting Harbour City Dental Hygiene today and Catherine and all the staff were fantastic. Very professional and friendly. The environment was warm and welcoming yet very clean and tidy. My appointment was right on time - no waiting!! And there was plenty of parking right outsid...
Heather Cooper (L) receives award from Tammy Gulevich, BCDHA Chair
I’d like to thank the BCDHA Board of Directors for selecting me for this amazing award and I am thrilled to have been invited to accept the award in person and to give thanks to Barbara herself for being an inspiration to many and a leader in the field of mobile dental hygiene treatment.
It only takes one snowflake to start a snowball, then just keep rolling and watch it grow.
The possibilities with mobile dental hygiene treatment are endless and require only a dream or inspiration, some encouragement and a forward motion to become a reality. Our profession just keeps growing and evolving and it will be ever changing so keep moving with us, have goals, dream big and find solutions, not excuses.
I would also like to give huge thanks and gratitude to Bronwynne Sove for nominating me for this award. We met last year on our volunteer trip with Share A Smile Society up to Nootka Sound on Vancouver Island. We were lucky to have chosen such a caring, thoughtful and hardworking Registered Dental Hygienist to receive some of the funding from a BCDHA grant that was awarded to Share A Smile Society last year.
I do find however, that you don’t have to look far to find these amazing people in our profession. They are every-where, yourself included, so give thanks to you and those around you for our dedication and commitment to care and be proud of our profession and know we are making a difference in the lives of those we touch.
I never stop dreaming of the opportunities that await me in this profession and in life. What is over the crest of the next hill, the next upward climb? Usually, a fun ride down! It is without question, one of the best things about our profession, the expanding, growing body of knowledge and scope of practice. There are always bumps in the road or maybe even some road blocks but eventually the construction is over and everything clears for the path ahead.
Our Society will again apply for the grant and I hope to meet more dental hygienists who have the motivation and desire to give back to our communities and help those who do not have access to regular professional dental hygiene care. I want to welcome all Registered Dental Hygienists in BC to BCDHA, our professional association, this year. We are a stronger voice united and there is so much support within.
I had an appointment with Catherine at Harbour City Dental Hygiene. She was very friendly and professional throughout the appointment. She did an amazing job cleaning my teeth and took the time to answer my questions as well as volunteer recommendations. I Strongly recommend Harbour City Dental Hygiene.� �- Myles ... See MoreSee Less