Join our team, expand our efforts
The heart of our foundation is our amazing group of volunteers. We are always looking for both clinical and support team members to join us for this incredibly fulfilling work. We welcome volunteers who are adventurous and flexible, willing to work hard each day and enjoy the deep satisfaction of serving our appreciative patients. The trips are well organized, and the camaraderie amongst the team members is unbeatable, building lifelong friendships as we spread smiles along the way!
What to expect on a HH&S mission:
- Our typical mission is 8-10 days, with 5 of the days treating patients, 2 days for travel and one or two days off to sight-see or relax.
- Our work days are long… 8am to 5pm with a short lunch and rest breaks as needed.
- We travel to inner city and/or rural towns to treat both children and adults in impoverished areas.
- Our lodging is usually in a hotel or house with semi-private rooms with bathrooms and showers.
- We recognize that healthy, safe meals are extremely important, and we will try to accommodate special dietary needs, but there may be limited options available.
- HH&S pays for lodging, transportation in country, breakfast on all days and lunches on treatment days
- Participants will be responsible for their airfare, some meals, day-off excursion expenses and shopping
- HH&S will supply limited travel insurance
- We generally treat 80-100 patients per day
- As we are able, we provide dental cleanings, children’s fluoride, composite restorations and extractions for our patients.
- We travel with Aseptico portable dental units and compressors, ultrasonic scalers for hygiene use, and extensive dental instrument selection, and all necessary dental supplies.
- The goal of most dental missions is to include 2 dentists, 3 hygienists, and support staff. We often utilize local dentists who join us on treatment days.
- Our support staff includes dental assistants, EFDAs, sterilizing team, registration help, and children’s activity volunteers. Spanish speaking volunteers are especially helpful.
Apply to volunteer
Testimonials from our volunteers
I have volunteered with HH & S on two missions to Nicaragua and Costa Rica, and found that being able to help the people of these countries with dental care was very rewarding to me. The foundation does a wonderful job with all the planning and coordination that goes into each and every mission. We had a great team of volunteers on both trips, who worked well together from the start of the mission until the end. I also loved working together with the volunteers from the countries we were in, and enjoy a continued relationship with them with the help of social media. I look forward to volunteering on future missions!- Marlene
As a recent graduate, Nicaragua 2019 was an invaluable experience that has contributed to my development as a dental professional tremendously. Hearts Hands and Smiles not only leaves a positive mark within the beautiful communities treated but on its' volunteers as well.- Annalee
Hearts, Hands and Smiles Foundation is the real deal! I have travelled with the group for two missions, and found the trips well organized and focused on what’s important: helping our friends in Central and South America obtain much needed care. On our trips we work hard and grow quickly into a close-knit team that seeks to provide the highest quality dental care for as many people as possible. We also seek to leave a lasting impact with dental health education and clean water projects.
Performing dentistry in a developing country makes all of us better. It makes the lives of the patients we treat better, it makes the country we are serving better, and it makes us better. We become better listeners, better at procedures, and better individuals when we come home. You are always changed by the experience, and care for people becomes the focus of your life.
When we treat patients in our offices here at home we will usually hear our patients describing what we are doing “to” them or a procedure “on” them. In a developing country where they are so thankful for our dental services we usually will hear patients talking about what we are doing “for” them. They are so grateful and so genuine with thankfulness.
Practice on a mission is busy, full, energetic, and challenging. It makes you a better practitioner and a more compassionate person. Where else can a dentist extract 50 teeth in one day, or a hygienist clean 25 mouths, or a volunteer care for 20 children, and support staff help with procedures they have never seen before? That’s the difference it makes in your life. That’s the difference it makes in the world.
Answering the tug in your heart to serve, will bring into focus the true path of your life. Dentistry is a service profession and that principle can be lost throughout life with a busy practice and building a life at home. However, we need to consider how we chose our profession and reach back in our memory to the “why” of dentistry. It is for this reason that we refocus on a dental mission to taking care of people, listening to the stories of oral pain and suffering, and know that we can make a difference to make someone’s life better.
The moment we fail to care for the rest of the world as we would our own family, is when we lose a sense of our humanity. They are us…