Some pictures from 2016 Nootka Sound Share a Smile dental mission

2016 Nootka Sound 1 2016 Nootka Sound 2Here’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

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.

 

Lisa Gifford, RDH

Volunteer Share A Smile 2016

 

2016 Nootka Sound 3 2016 Nootka Sound 4

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