Over the past two weekends in San Pancho we have completed six full days of clinic providing dental hygiene care to over one hundred clients. This has been a life-changing experience with many rewards and challenges. The clients expressed copious amounts of gratitude for the services we provided which was the most rewarding aspect of our clinical experience.
We have a deeper appreciation for the comforts we have at home. In Canada we tend to take for granted the access to care and armamentarium available to us. Here in Mexico our makeshift clinic was challenging to work in. Our operatory posed ergonomical and physical challenges. Furthermore, many of our clients were more difficult classifications than we have seen at home, and we were given a much shorter timeframe to complete them. We were also unable to provide local anesthetic, yet our clients demonstrated impressive ability to tolerate discomfort, always leaving grateful and smiling. This motivated us to push through the difficult times, even when we felt like giving up.
Due to the language barrier, we learned that nonverbals are crucial, but the translators assisted us in delivering the most important messages to our clients. Although removing the deposits was important to short-term oral health, the education provided was paramount for providing them with the skills to maintain long-term health for themselves and their loved ones.
Overall, we discovered how much we love dental hygiene. Although it can be very challenging, it is a rewarding profession that provides life-long learning opportunities. Throughout our careers we will experience continuous challenges, but learning to accept our abilities and taking the time to self-reflect will allow us to grow personally and professionally. We are grateful that we were given the opportunity to provide dental hygiene care for those who would otherwise not have access. We feel a sense of fulfilment knowing that we made a difference in their lives.