Educating Ambergris Caye one smile at a time

Saturday, January 23rd, 2016

For the past 12 years, the Smile Dental Clinic located at Holy Cross Anglican School has been providing free services to island children and other members of the community. But this service does not only come in the form of dental work, as it also provides educational awareness. Volunteers have indicated that throughout the years, they have noticed a dramatic improvement in the dental health of the children at Holy Cross Anglican School. Children have become more aware of the importance of good dental health and in turn, these qualities are being passed on to the wider community. This year, the Smile Dental Clinic saw the presence of both returning volunteers as well as a first timers.2016 Smile Clinic-1
Dr. Ken Beadling, of Kalamazoo Michigan, USA has ten years of experience in dentistry and has been providing free services at the Smile Dental Clinic for the past three years. “I’m pretty impressed with the dental health of the patients I have observed. It is quite evident that the work done by this clinic has impacted the dental health of the students significantly,” said Dr. Beadling.2016 Smile Clinic-4
Dr. Beadling, who recently volunteered in a similar dental program in Guatemala indicated that dental health there was poorer than here in Belize. “In Guatemala we did a lot of extraction on the patients, while here we are doing mostly fillings, sealing, cleanings and fluoride treatments. This shows that these children are actually maintaining their dental health after we leave,” said Dr. Beadling. “As always, after we provide service, we recommend that children brush well and eat right, and here at the Smile Dental Clinic, we are noticing that these children are taking care of their teeth.”2016 Smile Clinic-3
The clinic is also providing benefits for the long run, as those children treated at the Smile Clinic will grow up knowing that it is import to practice healthy dentistry and in the future pass on that same mentality to their own children. “A lot of the parents of today’s children probably have poor dental health. But these children will grow up with good health because they are getting care from such a young age. So they are learning how to care for their teeth and value good dental health. I’m glad that there is a program such as this, because it is really helping the wider community of San Pedro,” said Dr. Beadling.
Volunteering for the first time is Dr. George Hankerson of Apple Valley, Minnesota USA. With almost 50 years of dental experience, Dr. Hankerson is very impressed with the dental health of the students treated at the Smile Dental Clinic. “We always encourage that children start going to the dentist from young, so that they are not afraid to get help before the larger dental problems occur,” said Dr. Hankerson, who expressed his desire to continue working with Smile Dental Clinic.2016 Smile Clinic-2
Assisting the Dentists in this two-week volunteer program at the Smile Dental Clinic were Sheila Benning, Vicki Sells and year round volunteers Bonnie Musbach and Norma Chia.
The Smile Dental Clinic was founded by Dr. Mark Johnson with aims of providing quality dental care to island youth at no cost through volunteer programs.
The San Pedro Sun extends a big thanks to all those volunteers who have taken the time to provide dental services here in San Pedro.

Upcoming dates for dental clinics:

January 18th-23rd Holy Cross School
Dr Ken Beadling
Dr George Hankerman
Ms Jessica Brewer

January 25th-29th Holy Cross School

Dr Paul Roggow
Dr Steve Bender
Dr Mike Haddow

February 1st-5th Holy Cross School

Dr Alex Willis
Dr Steve Suddreth

February 17th-24 Holy Cross School
Dr Dan Larscheid and staff

February 29th-March 3rd Holy Cross School and Dr Otto Rodriguez Memorial Poly Clinic
Ms Brigette Cooper
Dr Richard Kim
Dr Larry Eichmeyer
Dr Jim Kalina
Mankato State University Hygiene Students

March 14th and 15th Holy Cross School / March 16th and 17th Dr Otto Rodriguez Memorial Poly Clini
Ms Susan K Kloosterboer
Dr Adina Ness
Ms Heidi Peterson
Madison College School of Health Education Hygiene Students

March 16th and 17th Holy Cross School
Dr Staci Blaha
Dr Joanne Brown

May 4th-6th Holy Cross School
Dr Hal Soloman and Staff


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