All posts by UCSD FS Dental

Dental Report: June 28, 2014

IMG_3217I had always been interested in attending one of the trips to Ensenada to volunteer in the Flying Sams’ dental clinic, but I was intimidated about not being picked to attend. However, I decided to sign-up for one the trips that took place at the end of June, and it was a decision that I was glad to have made. I was able volunteer as a chair-side assistant for the day. It was a great experience, and I cannot wait to do it again. It was such a rewarding opportunity to help these patients whom had gone years without seeing a dentist. They were truly grateful for the dental work and oral health instruction that we provided them.

The clinic was a lot smaller than I had originally expected since there is only one room where x-rays are done, the instruments are stored, and the patients are treated. When we initially arrived, we thought that it was going to be a slow clinic session because there were only a few patients in the waiting room. However, as the day progresses, more patients showed up, and the waiting room had families with children that came in for exams and cleanings. It was a long, productive day since we were able to see all nine patients, and we did not leave clinic till 6 p.m. Most of the procedures were cleanings, but we also extracted some baby teeth and did a composite filling. Many of the patients were scheduled to return the next clinic session to get their cavities filled. IMG_3216

Some of the procedures took longer than expected because the chair was needed for x-rays, so we had to wait to do seat patients for their treatment. In addition, many of the x-rays had to be retaken because we had difficulty developing them, which is why we had to schedule patients to return in order to get their caries filled. One of the most memorable parts of the trip was giving oral health instruction for the first time in Spanish. I have always been hesitant about using my Spanish in clinic because I am still learning dental terminology, but I was able to teach the patients how to properly brush and floss their teeth.

Bianca Duarte IMG_3277

Dental Report: June 21, 2014

Dentists: Dr. Megan Burns
Managers:  Alberto Jorge Espindola, Sonia Ventura
Volunteers: Julia Freidenberg, Patrick Anghel, Aries Lu, Andrew Mikhail, Valeria Lopez-Ramirez
X-ray Tech: Mathew Baldwin
Procedures: COE (x), BW (x), PA (x), Comp (x), Ext (x), Fluoride Varnish (x8), OHI (x)

Looking back at my first trip with Flying Sams and PDS, I am so impressed and honored to be a part of such a dedicated group. I was not sure what to expect at clinic in regards to materials, patients, or even doctors. I am genuinely touched by the tremendous efforts of anyone involved in the building of this clinic. The location was somewhere near Ensenada and was a little over 2 hours driving from the border. The building housed 5 rooms each dedicated to a specific field (pharmacy, medical, consultation, x-ray sterilization, and dental). It was busy in the waiting room by the time we got there, yet somehow the chaos was kept at bay with translators and various stations available for the patients to rotate through.

The day was long. It took roughly double to triple the time it normally would to examine and treat a patient. The prolonged time was due to wait time on x-ray film development and some sterilization hiccups. For instance, we are restricted to a manual autoclave. We had to clean our one periosteal which does not lend itself well to back to back extraction cases!

However, to expedite the procedures we would take x-rays on multiple kids (getting them in and out of the chair fairly quick) while waiting for them to develop.   We would also anesthetize one, then seat a different child in the chair, take x-rays, finish the previous child’s treatment etc.

Dr. Megan BurnsThis leads me to our next overview—all of the patients seen on Saturday were kids! We were SO EXTREMELY lucky to have Dr. Megan Burns as our pediatric dentist. I cannot emphasize enough how grateful we are for her services. Her infectious personality inspired all of us to keep working hard and diligently. She had quite the positive impact on the children as well with fun metaphors and calming techniques. Dr. Megan was extremely attentive and we learned one can observe a lot about a patient (specifically children) just by body language.

The whole day overall was pretty fluid.   We would set up trays and break down the chair with hustle! I was really proud of chairside assistants and x-ray technicians. Everyone knew their duty, instruments and procedures in a knowledgeable way. Everyone was exposed to both amalgam and composite fillings on children as well as extractions. The families and kids were so gracious for the care provided, giving us hugs and kisses—it was so sweet.

The only drawback was that absolutely no one spoke English! So all of us who aren’t proficient in Spanish did our best to find creative ways to interact with the kids (broken Spanglish included). We also had to end the day “early.” Our last two patients got x-rays taken with the hopes of treating them next visit.   Something with the pump or vacuum malfunctioned at the very end so no water or suction was available. Fortunately, neither of them were experiencing unbearable pain so they can wait for treatment until next time.

After clean-up we explored a fish market and ate the best authentic Mexican food I’ve ever had in my life. The whole trip was a worldly experience I would like to repeat as many times as I am able to! To put it simply: How was it? Answer: Simply amazing.

I would encourage any and all to come and help out. It is one of the most fulfilling days I’ve had at a clinic, truly. Thank you to Flying Sams for creating such a helpful and accessible treatment facility for those in need.


Julia Freidenberg

Needed Items

  • Pediatric Rubber Dam & Frame
  • Intermediate Bite Block
  • Molt
  • Curing Light Barriers
  • Small Wedges
  • Extra Short Needles
  • Sectional Matrix Bands (Kidney Bean)
  • Longer Trashcan

Dental Report: May 24, 2014

Dentists: Dr. Ivan Celis, Dr. Guadalupe Marquez
Managers: Selena Lopez (patient flow), Sonia Ventura (tray set-ups)
Volunteers: Cao Diem, Andrew Mikhail, Sam (Tengfei) Su, Kristen Young, Mari (Dr. Marquez’s assistant)
X-ray Tech: Cao Diem
Patients: 19
Procedures: COE (x8), BW (x2), Comp (x3), Ext (x), Fluoride Varnish (x7), Amal (x4)

IMG_2497On May 24th, 2014 we attended a one-day clinic trip in Ensenada, Mexico. We arrived at 9:30 AM and departed at 4:30 PM. There were two dentists, two managers, and five dental assistants. Since medical did not come down with us, one of the medical rooms was used for fluoride varnish and OHI. In total we saw thirteen patients and we applied varnish to eight patients. Most patients in the waiting room were seen except for four children that will most likely be coming back to the June 21st clinic. When I did a preliminary check up on the four children, they all had holes and decay on most of their molars on the top and the bottom, but there was not enough time to treat them. Overall, the clinic ran smoothly, but there needs to be improvement in terms of efficiency with the x-ray tech and the chairside assistant in order for the dentists to see more patients during the limited time in clinic.


Andrew Attaalla Mikhail

Dental Report: April 5, 2014

BU’s Global Days of Service Partnership

Dentists: Dr. Anu Rajasekaran, Dr. Komail Abbas
Managers: Alberto Espindola (CM), Sonia Ventura (FM)
Volunteers: Justin Montenegro, Adriee Wong, Mona Lisa Jabari, Ahn La
X-ray Tech: Alberto Espindola/Adriee Wong/Justin Montenegro
Patients: 19
Procedures: COE (x14), BW (x10), PA (x3), Comp (x3), Ext (x5), Pulpotomy (x1), SRP (x2), Fluoride Varnish (x10), OHI (x)

Clinic Notes

BU Global Days of Service
BU Global Days of Service

 Today was a special clinic day because we partnered with two alumni from Boston University’s dental school as part of their Global Days of Service. It was part of a month long event where members of the BU community come together to give back to their communities.

When we first arrived to clinic, there were 9 on the wait list, three of which were kids. However, by the end of the day, 20 had signed up for dental.

We did our best to see all the patients but were hindered by our manual X-ray machine and developer, as well by the fact that everyone had to leave the room when X-rays were taken. I understand Selena’s plea for a lead wall and the benefits it will bring by allowing us to see more patients at once! We were also limited by our slow automatic autoclave because all our hand pieces were sterilizing at once. Fortunately, the technician fixed our dental unit during the week so we were able to do procedures.

Dr. Raja mainly worked on screenings and cleanings while Dr. Abbas worked on the kids. We were lucky to have a pedodontist on board because he was able to see the more “complicated” procedures with the kids. He did three extractions, and for one of the younger patients, it was a horrifying experience. I heard the loudest scream in my life. The girl screamed with all her heart during the extraction procedure. She wasn’t in pain, but just the psychological thought of the injection and extraction terrified her. When she thought the procedure was over, she automatically stopped crying. Unfortunately, the X-rays clearly showed the necessity for the extraction and it just had to be done. Dr. Abbas pulled through despite the screams and movements of escape. It was a sight. She needs a pulpotomy so we hope that she can be seen by another pedodontist in two weeks, otherwise, another extraction will be needed. We were truly lucky to have a specialist to deal with the situation and I’m glad we had Dr. Abbas.

It was a pleasure to have Dr.Raja with us again and have her work on procedures other than cleanings and prophies. However, I was able to see the difference a good cleaning did for our patients! In our clinic, any sort of treatment makes a difference!


Needed Items

Glass ionizer cement (powder/liquid)
Crown crimper for stainless steel crowns
Howe pliers
Space maintainers
Formocresol for pulpotomy (Buckley’s)

Stainless Steel Crowns 3M Unitek
Sectional and Pedo matrices
Pediatric and adult clamps
Coupler for automatic scaler
Treasure chest for EXT
Paper towels
Paper tray covers (size B)
Composite, not amalgam instruments
Autoclave bags

Sonia Ventura

Dental Report: March 22, 2014

Flying Sams 3/22/14

Dentists: Dr. Ivan Celis, Dr. Oh
Managers: Selena Lopez, (CM), Sonia Ventura (FM)
Volunteers: Valeria Lopez, Allende Esquivel, Jamie Cho
X-ray Tech: Alberto Espindola
Patients: 36
Procedures: COE (x1), Comp (x3), Ext (x13), Fluoride Varnish (x15), OHI (x15)

Clinic Notes

This time around, we were expecting to work alongside a Korean Volunteer group. They advertised on their own to a local community of Korean-Mexicans in Ensenada which brought the total waitlist of dental patients to 50. We decided to change our three-station system by replacing the exam chair to the extraction chair. In this way, Dr. Celis continued to see the scheduled patients and Dr. Oh focused on extractions.

It was a pleasure working with Dr. Oh because we were able to see how his experienced allowed him to work at a fast rate! The extraction patients were seen in no-time and we finished early. He’s actually a professor to D3?s and D4?s at Loma Linda’s dental school which was a pleasant surprise! He’s an honorable man to come to the clinic despite the conditions he believed them to be. Hopefully, now that the clinic is more equipped, he’ll come back and do more than extractions!

At the end of the day, a man wearing a black shirt approached me, asking to see the dentist. Unfortunately, our dentists had left and he couldn’t be seen. He explained the pain he experienced in his wisdom tooth and the tooth next to it had been going on for the last week. I recommended for him to see another dentist around town and he replied saying he didn’t have the money. I could see his  vulnerable state, to say to me he was in pain and didn’t have money. The least we could do was give him pain medication for the following two weeks. When I gave him the meds, he took one right away, which highlighted the extremity of his toothache. Its moments like these that show the importance of our clinic because to some, its the last resort to dental treatment. We’ll see him in two weeks and await the moment he receives the correct treatment he needs.

Needed Items

  • Adult matrix bands
  • Blue labeling tape

Dr. Celis & Dr.Oh

Sonia Ventura

Dental Report: November 16, 2013

Because we didn’t have a dentist, we provided other dental services that we were capable of doing: such as X-rays, Oral Health Instructions (OHI), and fluoride varnish. Regardless of having a relatively new volunteer, everyone was great! Honestly, I’m in peace of mind knowing everyone knows their duties and does an excellent job.

Sonia Ventura

Dental Report: October 19, 2013


Dentists: Dr. Anu Rajasekaran
Managers: Selena Lopez (CM), Sonia Ventura (FM)
Shadows: Lisa Dahn + Gabriel Ferguson (SDSU FS)
X-ray Tech: Alberto Espindola
Patients: 3+
Procedures: Prophy (x1), alleviate pain (x1), LOE (x1)

Displaying IMG_0121.JPGWe handed out toothbrushes and toothpaste to small children and older adults. We also gave away fun workbooks related to oral hygiene! The first patient was done on a child, and it took her a while to get comfortable. Then, we saw her mother. Unfortunately, her mother had high plaque buildup. We had her teeth X-rayed in order to make a proper diagnosis. Then, we determined she would need a molar crown. Dr. Raja made a temporary molar crown for her, and so both her and her daughter took us a while to finish. When we were done with her, we saw 4 more. Upon close inspection, Dr. Raja concluded that many of them needed root canals. Unfortunately, due to lack of time, Dr. Raja performed simple clean ups and told them to seek an outside specialist because of the severity of their condition. Our last patient was an elderly man who Dr. Raja decided also needed a root canal. We managed to give him better dental treatment, though, because he was last. We performed temporary relief on his teeth to halt the decay of this ached tooth and slow the decay and infection of his tooth.

Selena Lopez

Dental Report: July 20, 2013

Dentists: Dr. Rooney
Managers: Selena Lopez, (CM), Sonia Ventura (FM)
Volunteers: Maria Angle, Whitney Huong
X-ray Tech: Alberto Espindola
Patients: 17
Procedures: Comp, Ext, Fluoride Varnish, OHI

On the day of the second clinic day, we had Dr. Rooney, a pediatric dentist join us and his work exceeded our expectations! He suggested having a prophy station where a volunteer could do a knee-to-knee dental visual exam, merely checking for obvious decay. If there was, the child would be directed to him and he would proceed with the appropriate treatment. Alberto and Whitney alternated in that station, educating mother and child on proper brushing techniques and need for healthy teeth. It was a wonderful time for Alberto since he understood the need of educating oral health principles within the Hispanic population. The main reason Alberto pursues dentistry is for that main reason so everything he communicated was sincere.

Maria, one of the chairsides was awesome using her past experience volunteering in our San Diego clinics. She worked great with the kids during OHI, procedures, and translating. I believe one of the main reasons clinic ran smoothly was because of her.

Selena grew upon her clinic managing skills, communicating between patients and dentist. She was conflicted between the first-come-first-serve policy medical followed and wanting to treat patients by need. This is something we need to work on that requires educating medical about the importance of oral health trumping order. Asides from that issue, Selena utilized the new whiteboard to list patient’s existing conditions so the dentist could see who needed immediate treatment. Her organization definitely kept everyone updated and proved helpful in having an efficient clinic.

We stayed two hours later than everyone else because Dr. Rooney continued seeing patients until those that were promised to be seen could be seen. He did not get to see everyone but he did manage to see around 13 patients. He saw children first, treating the ones with major need first. He did an extraction and fillings on the first family and then worked on adults while the restorative instruments were in the autoclave. Children were screaming during the procedure but we could close the door to not scare the others in waiting room outside. The family with three girls left learning the importance of good oral health care from the oral health instructions, treatment, activity books, and goody bags. They gave us perspective that they are the reason we were doing all the work for: to educate, prevent, and serve.

Overall, we had a great team that fulfilled their duties to the maximum, saw a maximum amount of patients, and provided fillings, cleanings, and extractions. I was impressed on everyones hard work and I can see that the past cleaning session, two pre-clinic sessions, and past clinic session paid off.

I feel like I’m immersed in the ultimate pre-dental experience as a co-dental coordinator overseeing the development of the Flying Samaritans dental clinic and I’m grateful for that. I can’t wait to have more dentists on board and look forward to more experiences like these. It’s days like those that motivate me and solidify my dream of becoming a dentist because all the work I do directs me toward that direction.

Sonia Ventura