It was in 2006 that as a first year dental student, I had wild dreams of “saving the world, one tooth at a time.” When I first heard of a dental mission opportunity, I didn’t just jump on it… I leaped and it completely changed my life.
Three years later, my dentist siblings and I started a non-profit called N.G.O. Healthcare where we brought N.G.O. Healthcare where there was NO healthcare. (Ngo is our family name and pronounced “No”). Since then, we have completed 14 international missions to Vietnam, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Peru, South Africa, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Antigua, Brazil, Haiti and China.
My family endured the absolute definition of poverty during the Vietnam War and I have always felt it is my obligation to pay it forward by paying back to impoverished communities. We do this by donating our time to travel to small rural towns and providing dental extractions, medications, oral hygiene education and giving out toothbrushes, toothpastes and toys.
Allow me to share our very first dental mission to Nha Trang, Vietnam from July 2009. This is my family’s hometown, and as a family we organized this. My father set up each work site with each local mayor, my mother signed every patient in at registration, my brother and sister saw patients as dentists and my nieces and nephews played with the children while they were waiting. Our team consisted of my good friends from dental school and cousins who live in Vietnam. It was pretty much the best trip ever.
We are always planning our next dental mission trip. We have worked with physicians, optometrists, physical therapists, pharmacists, nurses, and non-medical volunteers on many of our other trips. If you would like to participate, or donate please fill out the Contact form on the About page.