One of the benefits of earning a dental assistant diploma is gaining the skills necessary to make a difference in the world. While dental hygiene may not be at the forefront of everyone’s minds in the medical industry, poor oral health can actually cause a variety of painful diseases, including advanced gum disease.1 Dental assistants can volunteer their time and expertise to teach others about better dental hygiene and take care of those who have poor oral health.
There’s no need to travel far to volunteer! Local schools, and elementary schools in particular, are always looking for professionals to teach their students about important health habits like eating well and having proper dental hygiene. If there’s a local boy or girl scout troop in your town, ask the leaders if you can come and talk to the kids about taking care of their teeth. Not only will you teach them a valuable lesson, but you’ll also be able to put volunteer experience on your resume.
American Dental Association
Have you ever considered volunteering for the American Dental Association? The ADA operates the Give Kids a Smile program, which provides much-needed dental services to underserved kids. More than 40,000 people volunteer for Give Kids a Smile annually, benefiting approximately 450,000 children. While the program initially only took place on the first Friday in February, today events are hosted by local Give Kids a Smile programs year-round.2
Medical Reserve Corps
The Medical Reserve Corps is a national network of local groups of volunteers. Through the MRC, volunteers give their time and expertise to improve public health and emergency response. Every MRC unit is organized by a local coordinator and is composed of doctors, pharmacists, dental assistants and other members of the health care field. Volunteers may use their skills to do everything from attempting to eliminate health disparities to improving knowledge about proper physical, mental and oral health in their communities.3
If you love to travel, you may want to consider volunteering abroad. Summer is the perfect time to volunteer outside of the United States because you have a few months off of school. There are a variety of programs available for dental assistants to lend their expertise to developing countries. One such program is through Basecamp International Centers, which connects students with public health volunteering opportunities abroad. Dental assistants may be able to do anything from treating patients to educating the public about oral health.4
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ‘Oral Health,’ 2011
2 American Dental Association, ‘Give Kids a Smile!’ June 13, 2013
3 Medical Reserve Corps, ‘About Volunteering,’ Aug. 2, 2011
4 Basecamp International Centers, ‘Dental Volunteer,’ 2013