Dental Program


Students joining Vida’s Dental Program will not only allow underserved communities to gain access to quality dental care, but they will also participate in a high-quality, ethical learning experience. Although your trip may only last a week or two, your service will have an ongoing effect on the community’s development, health literacy, and create sustainability.

This volunteer abroad program is open to all students who are interested in the field of dentistry and are looking to gain relevant clinical skills to become well-rounded, culturally competent professionals.


Why you should join?

Be A Part Of The Impact!

Dental Program Volunteers provide individualized, patient-oriented care, side by side with local dental physicians. Students develop basic dental techniques, identify anatomic structures, and understand the importance of implementing dental education to promote healthy communities.

Students have the opportunity to diagnose and evaluate patients, perform cleanings, and assist in extractions under the authority of a local licensed dentist.

This program allows international volunteers to observe diverse cases; from diseases that specifically manifest in Central American communities, to general conditions that occur worldwide.

Most importantly, the Dental Program improves students’ cross-cultural communication skills and fosters respect for others of different backgrounds.

Components for a successful trip

Field Clinics

Clinics are held in community centers, churches, or schools. We provide basic dental care to rural communities with little to no access to healthcare. Our goal is to improve their oral health conditions with available treatments and through preventive dentistry, which involves teaching and educating patients on proper cleaning and flossing techniques.

Regardless of the location, we set the highest level of professionalism for our volunteers and staff.


Family Visits

Family Visits* enable us to reach the most vulnerable people in our communities. Along with a team of doctors, health promoters, nurses, and interpreters, we analyze the current living conditions and habits that affect the well-being of our patients. The information gathered will be transferred to local health authorities and we will have a chance to educate our patients and give recommendations to the families.

*Family Visits depend on itinerary and group size


A home away from home!

Homestays* promise a whole-hearted and culturally immersive experience. You’ll get a chance to learn about local family values and enjoy delicious, authentic, home-cooked meals while forming life-long bonds with our world-famous host families.

*Homestays depend on itinerary and group size

As a Dental Program Participant you will:

  • Separate instruments and materials.
  • Assist with prophylaxis and fluoride treatments.
  • Educate the community on preventive dentistry, cleaning, and flossing techniques.
  • Support/Observe lead dentist during pain management procedures, oral cancer screenings, fillings, sealants, and extractions.
  • Learn about the challenges faced by Central American Health Departments.
  • Analyze concepts, evaluate experiences, and form opinions.
  • Develop critical thinking skills.
  • Foster cultural awareness.

Clinic set up

1. Waiting Area

This is where patients await to be seen. Their names are added to the list of patients we will see each day. Lists are usually handled on a first-come, first-serve basis; however, prioritize seniors, pregnant women, and patients with conditions that might require immediate assistance.

Cleaning Area: Students will assist with clinic set up, cleaning of tables, chairs, instruments, etc.

Pre-Clinical Preparation: Students will learn about biosecurity and how to avoid cross-contamination following the correct protocol. Students will wash and sterilize instruments as well.

2. Intake

Students will assist the dentist in charge while filling out the patient intake form and during cleanings and fluoride applications. After each clinic, students will be responsible for data management and generating statistics from data via the cases conducted that day.

3. Clinic

Vida ensures that there are no more than 5 dental volunteers per licensed dentist. Pain management procedures, oral cancer screenings, fillings, sealants, and extractions are performed by the locally licensed dentists in charge of the clinic. During these procedures, volunteers will receive a one on one learning experience where the dentist will discuss the procedure and answer questions as they go.

4. Preventive Education

Students will educate patients on the importance of dental hygiene, brushing and flossing techniques, and provide general recommendations for a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.

5. Pharmacy

Students will collect the prescription given by the doctor. Once the medication is ready, volunteers will explain the following information (with the help of an interpreter):

  • Types of medications
  • Dosage amounts
  • Instructions for medication usage

What's included?

  • Airport pick-up and drop-off.
  • All ground transportation between sites.
  • Accommodations
  • 2 meals during clinic days and 1 meal during recreation days
  • In-country orientation.
  • Program Manual.
  • 24-hour staff assistance.
  • All medicine, equipment, supplies, and professionals needed to successfully perform on clinic days.
  • Evening group activities.
  • All recreation activities listed in trip itinerary.
  • Border and customs fees (when applicable)
  • Statement of Service Hours
  • Certificate of Participation.  (Letters of recommendation will be assessed on a case-by-case basis).

Sample Itineraries

*Order of clinic, family visit and/or recreation days may change depending on country and route.


Feel free to contact us! Fill out this form and one of our Student Engagement Representatives will get back to you as soon as possible.

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