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Aspen Dental volunteers find a new way to give thanks this holiday season

Through a partnership with Honduras Hope, Aspen Dental volunteers spent Thanksgiving away from home providing free dental care to Hondurans in desperate need

AspenDentalClarksville, TN – A group of Aspen Dental volunteers, including Dr. April Buckins from Clarksville, operated out of three makeshift dental “offices” in the most remote and impoverished areas of Honduras, to provide desperately needed free dental care to more than 500 Hondurans over the Thanksgiving holiday.

From November 21st-28th,  dentists, hygienists and dental assistants from Aspen Dental offices across the United States took time away from family and friends to provide care in rural Plan Grande, a Tolupan Indian reservation; San Jose, a mountain community of squatters; and a vocational school in the village of Yoro.

AspenDental located at 2702 Wilma Rudolph Boulevard in Clarksville, TN.
AspenDental located at 2702 Wilma Rudolph Boulevard in Clarksville, TN.

From extractions to cleanings and fillings, volunteers took part in a mission to alleviate the most urgent dental needs and to improve the oral health of Hondurans.

“This trip was beyond my expectation,” said Dr. April Buckins. “To help these people – most of whom had never seen a dentist before – was so rewarding I can hardly put it into words. It feels great every time we can preserve a smile, especially with young people.”

Many Hondurans came to the clinics in desperate need of care – with several walking more than three hours along dirt roads. And when they arrived, they waited patiently for hours to get themselves out of immediate, and extreme, oral pain. Translators helped determine patient’s needs and the team went to work.

Dr. April Buckins in Honduras.
Dr. April Buckins in Honduras.

“We were so honored to be able to serve so many people, and it was especially rewarding for our team of volunteers to do this over Thanksgiving. It really gave us a new perspective on what we’re thankful to have in the United States, and hopefully it gave the people of Honduras something to be thankful for as well,” said Dr. Schatzie Vincent, Director, Community Giving, Aspen Dental Management, Inc., who headed the group.

According to the Pan-American Health Organization, Honduras lacks adequate access to health services –and 83% of Hondurans alone are without health insurance. Most have never been to a dentist. Lack of dental education and in-home care, combined with non-fluoridated water and a diet consisting of soda and sweet drinks, sugar cane and carbohydrates which turn into sugar, contributes to major dental problems at very young ages.

The mission trip was done in partnership with New Hampshire-based Honduras Hope, a non-profit working to create stronger, more resilient, and self-sufficient communities in rural northern Honduras since 2001.

“The passion and energy of the entire team was unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” said Bill Briggs, founder of Honduras Hope. “This mission is a tremendous reflection on the commitment of Aspen Dental and its people to help people get the care they need. This is the first time Honduras Hope has been able to provide dental care and we’ll be forever grateful to Aspen.”

The effort is part of Aspen Dental Management, Inc.’s (ADMI) “Overseas Outreach Program” that helps aid communities around the world in dire need of dental care. The trip was financially supported by ADMI.

About Aspen Dental Practices

Dentists and staff at Aspen Dental practices believe everyone has the right to quality, affordable oral health care. As one of the largest and fastest-growing networks of independent dental care providers in the U.S., local Aspen Dental practices – more than 500 of them across 33 states – offer patients a safe, welcoming and judgment-free environment to address their dental challenges.

Every Aspen Dental-branded practice offers a full range of dental and denture services – including comprehensive exams, cleanings, extractions, fillings, periodontal treatment, whitening, oral surgery, crown and bridge work – allowing patients to have the peace of mind that they are taken care of and protected, so they can focus on getting the healthy mouth they deserve. In 2014, Aspen Dental-branded practices recorded more than 3.4 million patient visits and welcomed nearly 750,000 new patients.

About Aspen Dental Management Inc.

Aspen Dental Management Inc. (ADMI) is a dental support organization that provides non-clinical business support services to independently owned and operated dental practices in 33 states.

This can include services and recommendations related to finding the right location, leasing, equipment, accounting and marketing. This model leaves independent, licensed practitioners free to concentrate on patient care.


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