By Amber Auger RDH, MPH
For the past twenty-eight years, Professor John Power of Quinnipiac College has brought volunteer teams to the Dominican Republic to provide free healthcare, primary school education, construction services, and meals to the underserved community of La Romania. This year, I was fortunate to lead a team of four dental hygienists to provide oral hygiene and prevention services. Preventive care is new to this community, where dental care has been limited to extractions. My team was stationed at the Joe Hartman School and worked out of a mobile unit equipped with the tools needed to provided preventive education, cleanings, and sealants. Pulpdent’s Embrace Pit & Fissure Sealant was used to place 284 sealant treatments.
History of Joe Hartman School
Pastor Elza Phanord and her late husband, Rev. Jean Luc Phanord, had a vision: build a school for the poor in the Dominican Republic to give local children an excellent education and to teach them Christian values. With much volunteer work, donations, and prayer, the vision became real and the Joe Hartman School opened along Kilometer 6 in the Dominican Republic.1 There are over 150 children who attend the school, which is mostly sponsored by Americans. To learn more information about sponsoring a student click here.
Innovation of Embrace
Despite the extreme heat, the Embrace Pit & Fissure Sealant material remained uncompromised. The hydrophilic material allowed clinicians to have extreme efficiency and accuracy. Utilization of Embrace Sealant resulted in long-term protection of the molars. Prior to our time at the school, the children never had access to preventive services. Additionally, Embrace Fluoride Varnish was placed after the prophylaxis and sealants.
Collaboration with Local Dentists
While on the trip, our team build a trusting relationship with the local dentists. With the help of our translators, we were able to discuss the differences in the preventive mindset of the dental hygienists and their crucial role in the long- term health of the patient. Our team also provided preventive services to the local dentists.
The patients that we treated over the week-long mission trip were educated on the importance of oral hygiene and prevention. Our team will be returning to the Dominican Republic next year to provide additional preventive services and education.
About Amber Auger, RDH, MPH
Amber Auger, RDH, MPH, is a hygienist with experience in multiple clinical settings, including facilities abroad. Amber obtained a master’s degree in public health from the University of New England and a bachelor’s in dental hygiene from the University of New Haven. She holds a part-time position at an elite dental office in Boston, and is chief of clinical technology for Jameson Management. Amber Auger is a key opinion leader for several dental companies, speaker and published author, and can be contacted at amberaugerrdh.com.