Hey y'all! I'm sharing a few things i've learned from my dental mission trips and want to share all of the tea on everything you need to know before your next big mission trip.
1. Prepare yourself to be in a different environment than what you're used to. I always check in with my PCP to make sure I am up to date with all of my required vaccines. Some countries have outbreaks of different endemics and it's good to be prepared in case you come across it.
2. If this is your first mission trip be prepared for your world to be flipped upside down. I did not expect the conditions I saw on my first mission trip, in fact, I didn't prepare for it at all. Most of the time the people you come across have little to nothing. That means they are lacking basic things like shoes, soap, and sometimes even running water. I would recommend wearing your most basic attire. For me it was a scrub top and bottoms and a sweater in case it was chilly.
3. Your organization may have a dental clinic already prepared for you, but some do not. On my mission trips we did not have any type of clinic it was boots on the literal ground and work with what you had. Sometimes, that meant using a bucket as a table and others it meant the floor was your tray table.
4. Supplies, supplies, supplies!!! Over the past few mission trips we are slowly raising funds to get a portable dental unit. However, we have definitely made do with what we had and I'm proud to say that this last trip we were able to complete our first sealant! If you're going on a mission trip and need to bring hygiene supplies with you here are some essentials to consider bringing with you.
-Gloves, Masks, and Cavicide Wipes
5. Make the most of your mission trip! I have met so many lifelong friends that have truly became my family over the years. When I signed up to become a dental hygienist I never imagined I would be doing anything like this, #lovewhatyoudo. Love your neighbor regardless of skin color, race, religion, or beliefs. Love conquers all.