At Dental Depot, we’re all about improving lives and giving back and we strive to bring in people who share our passion. Drs. Steven and Davis Do, brothers and two of our newest dentists, do just that, bringing with them years of dental mission work experience.
Both doctors graduated from the University of Southern California (USC) and while in school, volunteered for Dental Care for Children (DCC), a non-profit that has been making frequent trips to Mexico, Haiti, and Latin America for more than 20 years.
As students teamed with DCC, the duo provided cleanings, fillings and extractions to children in orphanages from Ensenada, Mexico, under the mentorship of experienced dentists.
Children aren’t the only ones served, however. As soon as the kids have been treated, the DCC volunteers move on to treat orphanage employees and then go out to serve the greater community. Seeing adults allows them to gain valuable experience performing additional procedures such as root canals, dentures and even implants, at no charge to the patients.
“We were able to provide comprehensive dentistry for a patient,” Dr. Davis said. “We could save a tooth—instead of only doing a filling, cleaning, or extraction. To be able to provide a root canal and build up a tooth and give them their confidence and smile back, that was the goal and that made the difference.”
Dr. Davis recalled another story of a teenage girl whose front teeth were so badly decayed that they had to be pulled. The dentists all pulled together and were able to give her eight implants to replace the teeth. Now the young woman is smiling again and volunteers her time as a translator with DCC.
“You get to practice and gain more confidence, because that’s the point of practicing,” Dr. Davis said. “You’ll see one to two patients per day during school and then eight to ten on a trip.”
Trips are usually scheduled back to back: two to three weeks apart so that the dental labs have time to fabricate appliances for the patients.
The set-up is rudimentary compared to what you’re probably used to: long folding chairs and trays for instruments, all in one large common area. Specialists and dental assistants also volunteer, lending their knowledge to caring for people in need. The mentors go beyond the technical, teaching the students how to utilize their assistants and work as part of a team. But one of the biggest skills the students hone during these trips is a sense of creativity.
Dr. Steven told us a story about their Uncle Kim, a dental lab technician who also has volunteered with DCC, and how on one trip he created a partial denture directly in a patient’s mouth instead of in a lab, because she couldn’t return to the next clinic to have it delivered.
“He was asking for water and everyone pitched in and made it happen—nobody questioned it,” Dr. Steven said. “For him to do that for that lady, she was just, happy. We all find creative ways.”
Dr. Steven has volunteered for some seven or eight trips, while Dr. Davis said he lost count after thirty trips.
“Our mom taught us to try and give back as much as we can,” Dr. Davis said.
Being able to give a patient their smile back is what makes everything worth it for these doctors. Now that they’re out of school they don’t plan on stopping either. They serve as mentors for DCC, giving back not only to the patients, but also to the students. We have no doubt they’ll bring the same compassion and experience to their patients at the Dental Depot Southwest OKC office.