Dr. Nicholas Gardner took a trip to the Dominican Republic in September 2016. Working with the Foundacion De Dr. Garg, Dr. Gardner and a team of 30 other dentists completed around 30 advanced sinus and ridge surgeries and placed 500 dental implants all in 30 clinical hours. With long days and a steady flow of patients, Dr. Gardner was able to see the difference he and his team were able to make for their patients.
That first day started at 6:00 am. We had a quick breakfast and traveled a few miles to the clinic. We had a debriefing by our supervising doctor, Dr. Leo Dorado. And we seated our first patient around 8:00 am… I ended up being partnered with Dr. Peele and we rotated being the operator and the assistant. That first day we each saw four patients and placed a total of about 17 implants. The day ended around 8:00 pm.
The Patients Who Change Us
There are always certain patients who touch your heart in a special way, no matter where you practice dentistry. During his time helping the residents of Santo Domingo, there were a few patients who stood out to Dr. Gardner.
The two that stand out for me are a man with no upper teeth… The second patient was a woman with a broken down tooth near the area planned for an implant.
Man With Missing Upper Teeth
This man was missing all of his upper teeth. He had previously undergone a bone surgery. The surgery added bone to his upper sinus. This surgery had been performed by other dentists trained under Dr. Garg. The surgery had produced excellent results and the man was ready for dental implants. I was able to place 8 dental implants in his upper jaw. He will regain function, health and will be able to share his beautiful smile all without the the hassle or financial commitment of a removable denture.
Woman With Broken Tooth
The second patient Dr. Gardner felt a special connect with was a woman with a broken down tooth near the area planned for an implant. She had some knowledge of the benefits of dental implants due to previous experience with the Garg Foundation. She was very eager to have her tooth removed and replaced with a dental implant. She was so grateful for her procedure.
The poverty was very real and seemed to be everywhere you looked.
Dental Health for Quality of Life
Having a stable oral foundation can help patients live a more fulfilling life. Oral health directly affects the body’s overall health. Having good oral hygiene and a confident smile can improve social and professional interaction. Dr. Gardner knows that by giving these people a jump start on their oral health could change their lives.