Dental Clinics

Dental Clinics

Global Dental Relief volunteers provide critical dental care to children — often the first care of their young lives.

Care is delivered in field clinics set up in local schools or municipal buildings. Volunteers form effective, hard-working teams treating and educating local school children over the course of 5 to 6 clinic days.

Patients are brought to clinics class by class from local schools. During their visit, each child receives a dental exam, a cleaning when possible, and all needed restorations and extractions to ensure they are restored to full dental health. If needed, children are called back for multiple visits during the week to complete the full treatment plan. See our dental protocol more information.

Children also receive a new toothbrush, toothbrushing instruction, oral health education and a fluoride treatment. Once dental health is restored, children return to the clinic every two years to ensure a childhood of healthy smiles.

Clinics host up to five dentists and two hygienists. Ten additional general volunteers provide clinic support, working as chairside assistants, sterilizing, keeping records or educating children.

Why Dental Care for Kids?

Many children globally live without access to dental care, since local dentists are few and the cost of care is financially beyond reach. A child with a healthy mouth is more likely to have a healthy life. Without dental care, a small area of tooth decay could remain untreated, growing each year until it becomes infected and inflamed.

This infection and chronic pain affect a child’s ability to sleep at night, eat properly, or stay awake in class. Over time, they lose their smiles, self-esteem and ability to thrive.

For many children, Global Dental Relief volunteers provide the first dental care and oral health education of their young lives. During a clinic visit, each child receives a comprehensive exam, all needed dental care, a fluoride treatment and a new toothbrush and oral health instruction.

GDR's mission is to restore children to bright smiles. Most importantly, GDR volunteers return to treat these same children every two years.

Oral Health Program

Global Dental Relief’s Oral Health Program augments the oral health education each child receives during their visit to GDR dental clinics. Under this program, our in-country partners visit each school annually to ensure children receive:

  • an oral health lesson in a classroom setting,
  • a new toothbrush,
  • and a fluoride treatment.

Each year, GDR dental clinics provide 22,400 children with oral health instruction during a clinic visit. Since local school children attend GDR clinics every other year, the Oral Health Program reaches children on a more consistent basis, once a year, to continue to reinforce oral health awareness and prevention.

Currently the Oral health Program is underway in Nepal, Cambodia and Guatemala, reaching 29,000 children with classroom education and care.

Our hope is that through the steady application of this work, we can instill oral health habits in children, their families, and by extension, the community at large.

Dental Clinics
Dental Clinics

School Lunch Program

GDR’s School Lunch Program serves children from remote areas in Kathmandu, Nepal who typically live in hostels or boarding schools while receiving an education. At many schools, children are fed a sparse diet of rice and lentils, with occasional vegetables.

The School Lunch Program allows us to reach children living in the poorest boarding or hostel conditions, providing each child with an extra boost of targeted nutrition. Each week, every child receives two eggs and three pieces of fruit added to their school-provided daily lunches. Children love these foods and eat every bite with gusto!

The program currently reaches 1,090 students at five locations. For only $3 a month per child, or $35 a year, each child receives critical protein and vitamins, bolstering their nutrition and ability to thrive.

We are grateful to the program’s many donors and sponsors — together, we are doing our small part to bring care and hope to children in Nepal.

Food Scarcity Program

Food Scarcity Program June 2020 — January 2022 placed on hold

The Food Scarcity Program began in 2020, when Global Dental Relief saw children we had served with dental care for almost 20 years going hungry due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These are children GDR knew, cared about, and was committed to serving.

In both Guatemala and Nepal, food was distributed in packages providing a family of five with food for a week. Each family received an allotment of rice, lentils, flour, oil, a vegetable and salt in Nepal, and rice, beans, a protein powder, and a vegetable in Guatemala.

Providing food for a week cost $14 for a family of five. Meals were designed to fend off the dire effects of malnutrition and bolster a child and family’s overall health and ability to thrive.

GDR’s Food Scarcity Program wound down in 2022 as local populations went back to work, tourist dollars returned and local economic conditions improved substantially. GDR stands ready to respond if future conditions in any of our country locations require basic nutrition for the populations we serve.

Dental Clinics

Wolfgang Pfannenstiel

What Volunteers Say

After my first dental volunteer trip I was sure to do this continuously no matter what! This is helping kids in need effectively. This is having enjoyable conversations with new friends. This is creating unforgettable memories. So in my specific case the letters GDR stand for the German Dentist Returns :)”

- Wolfgang Pfannenstiel, Dentist, Germany

Darshani Khosla

What Partners Say

Global Dental Relief makes sure children are receiving continuous care and that clinics are run efficiently and with the highest ethical standards. They take care of every detail on your service trip — I plan to volunteer with them for years to come!

- Darshani Khosla, Dentist, Texas

Carol Lim

What Volunteers Say

Thank you Global Dental Relief! Nothing compares to the efforts and impact of your volunteer overseas programs, working hard to bring healthy smiles to children.

- Carol Lim, Vice President of Business Development, Cranberry U.S.A

TJ Gabriels

What Volunteers Say

I plan my whole year around these opportunities to volunteer abroad. I love travel with a purpose, being more than a tourist and making a small, positive mark in the world. This organization has allowed me to get out of my comfort zone and has really helped broaden my world view.

- TJ Gabriels, Lawyer and General Volunteer, New York

Michael Pasoff

What Volunteers Say

As a dentist, I have treated and cared for many patients, however, nothing can compare to the sense of fulfilment when volunteering your time and skill to ease the pain and suffering of others. It never ceases to amaze me what can be accomplished when surrounded by dedicated, caring and talented volunteers, such as those I met in past international dental clinics with GDR.

- Michael Pasoff, Dentist, Montreal, Canada

Nour Shehadeh

What Volunteers Say

I am honored and grateful to help these amazing children, meet incredible people, explore their culture and change children's lives for the better. I look forward to many service trips with GDR in the future.

- Nour Shehadeh, Dental Hygienist, Illinois

Peggy Lamm

What Volunteers Say

If you want to literally change lives, this is a great way to do that. Our work with Global Dental Relief produced more real good than all the other cumulative good works I've helped with through the rest of my life.

- Peggy Lamm, CEO Colorado Mesa University Foundation and General Volunteer, Colorado