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UCLA School of Dentistry Plans Mission Trip to Yanji, China

Posted on May 1, 2012

For the students at the UCLA School of Dentistry, one of their main goals is to not only learn how to become dental practitioners of the future, but also figure out how to use their education to impact and help people around them. This mission has eagerly been taken up by 10 UCLA dental students, ranging from their first to third year in school, and two local dentists who are all fervently planning a week-long dental mission trip to Yanji, China. This will be the third consecutive year that the UCLA Chinese Dental Student Association (CDSA) has planned this trip. Their goal: to bring dental care to an orphanage that relies on volunteers and change the way people view oral health. 

The House of Love currently serves around 80 to 100 children whose range in age from newborn to 18 years old. The orphanage is run by one mother and one father and receives very limited funding from the Chinese government. Furthermore, the surrounding community is severely underserved in oral healthcare and lacks easy access to dental treatment. For the majority of people in the community, the House of Love represents their only source of care.

For the past three years, UCLA dental students and volunteer dentists have provided basic oral care for this community. Their focus at the orphanage has been on restorative services, including composites, scaling and root planing, sealants, prophys, topical fluoride applications, extractions, and oral hygiene instruction. This service has been instrumental in providing oral care and also teaching younger children the value of dental hygiene. For many of the people of Yanji, dental care is often neglected and the connection between oral and systemic health is lost. UCLA students have been able to impact this community by showing how proper oral care can greatly improve overall health and well-being.

This September 2–10, these 10 UCLA dental students and two dentists will continue the CDSA Dental Mission Trip to Yanji and continue to provide oral care to the orphans of the House of Love. They will rely on donations of dental supplies from several dental companies and guidance from accompanying dentists to continue their mission.