Our office has enjoyed participating in several outreach programs. We have made trips to Mexico to help needy children with dental treatment, participated in Light the Night Walk with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Rake-up Boise, and also helped out each year at the Idaho Food Bank.

Let us know if you are interested in participating with us!

Dr. Don talks about the volunteer work done for little children in Puerto Vallarta and the great experience his team had!

Northwest Dental Center Mexico Trip 2021

[Mexico Puerto Vallarta]
[Puerto Vallarta Dental Service Project]

Hello I am Dr. Don Cook, I am a general dentist in the Boise Idaho area, and also a member of the Academy of LDS dentists, the academy provides opportunities for general dentists throughout the United States to travel and do service, for people and the trip that we are on right now is in Puerto Vallarta Mexico, and so I just want to tell you a little bit about the history and kind of what we do on our trip here to serve the people in La Cruz. First of all I like to introduce Dr. Gordon Croft who is one of the original dentists that has come down here for many years. I am going to have him give you a little bit of history. So Gordon, come on in!

Thank you Don! In 2002, the Academy of LDS dentists sent Dr. Francis Alder from Vancouver Washington, down here to Puerto Vallarta to work in an orphanage and to assess the area to see if it would be an area that our academy would like to serve with dental service trips. Well LDS from that work that they did in an orphanage that time they decided yes, this was an area that had a lot of need, and so the next year I had the opportunity to come down with another dentist and we worked in an orphanage at that time and then for a few years we worked in mainly orphanages and because Francis Alder was called to a position as a mission president I was given the responsibility to be the leader of the team of this and over the years I have had dentists join me from everywhere, from Florida to Alaska and so we have had some good experience with a lot of dentists from different places that have come down and done the work with us. We have worked mainly on children all these years and it has been a very gratifying experience.

This week we are down here all week and we have the opportunity to work with the Amigos of La Cruz and they are a group of senior citizens that kind of prepped the way for us to come to work on the kids, and they are in the small community of La Cruz where they talk with the teachers and the students at the schools and invite the kids to come and we usually have around 200 to 250 kids, that we serve. Now in the video this week we are going to basically take images of beautiful, beautiful Puerto Vallarta and also at the clinic we set up so that you will kind of see you know the portable units and the chairs that we bring and all the supplies yeah and all the wonderful staff that come with us and what a great opportunity it is for the general dentist and their families or the general dentists and their office staffs to come in and partake in this wonderful blessing that we have as dentists to be able to serve people right where we are at.

Yes we have over the years concentrated a lot on our – getting our equipment so that we can better serve because we have a mobile clinic that we use and we worked to the point now where we have a pretty good sized group and we do have a lot of volunteers helping and people coming with us so we are excited about this years’ service because we have a lot of people that have come with us and are going to serve this year. So anyway we are hoping for a very good clinic this year.

We also have invited some local Mexican dentists to work on our clinic with us, each year Gordon has arranged to have some local dentists come and that is always one of the highlights as we get to work with some of the locals here. Yes the people here I think are really enthused about that, it is a good experience to be able and join our professionals with their professionals and be able to do the common work together and so we think that that is something that is going to go forward and be a productive relationship in the future, year and in the community so stay tuned we got more for you!

Alright here is more! Let’s talk about our week.

We arrived Friday afternoon and the next day is Saturday. We transported the supplies and portable units to the dental clinic in La Cruz for set up. Set up included assembly of the portable units, we set 2 up for the hygienists and 4 for the doctors, we set up all the compressors and made sure that they were running and working a lot of our volunteers helped organize the tooth brushes and all of our supplies in one areas so we can get them to the kids as they can finish their treatment. We also picked up some filtered water for our autoclave so we set up a sterilization station. Once we got all set up we were ready to go. Sunday – we found a local ward and building and went to their services which was great. Monday morning we got up at 8 o clock, actually earlier but we were at the clinic and were ready for patients by 8:30. This year we had 4 hygienists. 2 each clinic day. They brought their own instruments and headlamps, and we provided of course the chairs and the patients. The supplies like Prophy Paste, Prophy cups, Fluoride were brought by the dentists and the hygienists from their home offices. The hygienist in all performed about a 120 cleanings, they handed out numerous tooth brushes and toothpastes to all the kids, they did their best at oral hygiene instructions in ‘Spanglish’ the best that we could! We had lots of family members and front office staff helping. They did not necessarily work as assistants but we had them working at the sterilization station which was very helpful. We utilized a small auto clave and a steam sterilizer and also had cold sterile tube tubs that we cleaned the instruments. The doctors usually bring their composite set ups like 3 or 4 of them, 2 or 3 extraction set ups amongst other instruments and supplies. The units themselves, the portable units have high speed and slow speed hand pieces so you don’t necessarily need to bring your own. We have a list of what the providers need and we can provide that to you, if you are excited to go. We have that.

Over the 4 days the doctors saw over a 150 kids, which included about a 100 fillings and over 40 extractions, we did find some of the difficulties was communicating with the kids because as you know working with kids, they can cry and are very scared, so having some Spanish or Spanish speakers was very helpful. This year we had 3 to 4 speakers, Spanish speakers from our team – but we also had 3 or 4 volunteers that came out each day from the Amigos. They were very helpful and helping us treat the kids that were having difficulty. Many of the kids while they were waiting or after treatment took the time to write up thank you cards, and you will be able to see some of those. We felt very lucky as an office and family members to have the opportunity to go to Puerto Vallarta, and sever wonderful families, these wonderful families in La Cruz, Puerto Vallarta. Thursday afternoon when we were all done in clinic the last group started taking down things, returning the unused supplies to the storage unit that we have in Lusiadas, we packed up all the compressors and sterilizers and now they are in storage waiting of us next January. On Friday and Saturday all the team members and family members took time to do a few activities. Some went renting bikes and went for some rides on the trails, some went to Sayulita which is about 30 minute drive from La Cruz, it has a great beach front, fun shopping areas and awesome restaurants. Sayulita is an awesome place to go. Others they went and did some whale watching and well many of them just hung out on the beach all day and worked on their tan!

In summary – this was a beautiful place to be and to visit. We enjoyed serving and being with the people and using our talents as dentist and hygienist to help the people. So thank you everyone and God Bless.

Idaho Foodbank
Light the night walk