Category Archives: Dental

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: February 15, 2014

Flying Sams 2/15/14

Dentists: Dr. Marquez, Dr. Celis
Managers: Selena Lopez (CM), Sonia Ventura (FM)
Volunteers: Valeria Lopez-Ramirez, Jihae Cho
X-ray Tech: Alberto Espindola
Patients: 19
Procedures: COE (x7), Comp (x4), SRP (x1)

Clinic Notes

We were back in full swing after not having a dentist join us in three months. This time around we had Dr. Marquez and a new dentist, Dr. Ivan Celis! He was referred to us by Mac, and we are so grateful to know he’ll be joining us next month. Because we had two dentists, we were able to implement a new system where one dentist worked on procedures and the other on diagnosis. Our dentist followed through and it proved to be effective. We now know what procedures will be done for next time so we’ll have to get the right instruments for that, like a 150/1S extraction forceps.

We were back in full swing after not having a dentist join us in three months. This time around we had Dr. Marquez and a new dentist, Dr. Ivan Celis! He was referred to us by Mac, and we are so grateful to know he’ll be joining us next month. Because we had two dentists, we were able to implement a new system where one dentist worked on procedures and the other on diagnosis. Our dentist followed through and it proved to be effective. We now know what procedures will be done for next time so we’ll have to get the right instruments for that, like a 150/1S extraction forceps.

More good news, we’re in the talks of getting a lead wall to freely take X-rays without having to leave the room and possibly have a separate building for dental! Mac, from rotary is working on that and we’re hoping for the best. Further, we finally got our donated high speed headpiece fixed so we have a total of 2 high speeds and 1 slow speed!

Our volunteers were great. Valeria is a veteran volunteer and naturally assisted our dentists. She also helped Alberto develop X-rays since we take manual ones.  It was Jihae’s first time in this clinic and learned a lot besides Spanish. She suggested to have one main volunteer working with each dentist so the dentist can teach once and not repeatedly throughout the time. This way, we can be more efficient and see more patients.

She was also introduced to the Mexican numbering system where the mouth is divided into quadrants 1-4 and 5-8 for primary teeth. From the center they count back to come up with a double digit number. Interesting stuff–we need to remind volunteers of this next time.

Needed Items

  • 150/151S
  • Adult matrix bands
  • Blue labeling tape
  • Etch/flowable tips
  • Developer + Fixer

UCSD Dental Group

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: September 28, 2013

Dentists: Dr. Guadalupe Marquez
Managers: Selena Lopez (CM), Sonia Ventura (FM)
Volunteers: Vady Khalil, Lupita (Dr. Marquez’s assistant)
X-ray Tech: Alberto Espindola
Patients: 5
Procedures: SRP(x2), Prophy (x2)

Our services were limited since we didn’t have a handpiece. We could only do prophys, deep cleanings, fluoride varnish, and OHI. As Dr. Marquez prepared to work on a prophy procedure, she had difficulties getting the pressure to come out of the slow speed tubing. The compressor was working and only the tubing seemed to be a problem. Neither Alberto or I could figure out what the problem, so at that point, Dr. Marquez asked us to get Maria Elena, since she had a technician’s number a couple months ago. What happened was that Maria Elena gave the contact info to Anelah, who did not come to the clinic trip. At that point we thought we reached a dead end. However, Maria Elena decided to go down the street, and ask the military dental group for a technician’s number. I went with her to the dental group and along the way, she said “hi” to everyone she met. She’s so sweet and friendly. We got to the dental group and it turns out, that they were open evenings! It was super convenient for us, because at the time, the dentist was to arrive in 5 minutes! The dentist finally came and was a gentleman, providing us with the service we needed. He gave us his technician’s number and back to our clinic we went. Maria Elena did not have a cell phone on her so Selena generously offered for us to use her phone. The technician was finally coming! We had no money to pay him, but he came! Initially, he was to inspect to figure out what the problem was and then give us an estimate for fixing it. That is why Dr. Marquez signed to Alberto to wedge himself in and see what the problem was too (and how to fix it), so we would’t pay in the end. She explained to the technician we were a student organization that drove down each month to provide services for the underserved. When the technician explained what the problem was, he said that since we provided free services to the community, he would do also. That was very nice of him and showed to us that we received help from a outstanding person.

Medical & Dental Technician

A humble man with outstanding talent. He explained to us that the problem was the improper placement of the hoses in their holders. It was such a simple fix which I’m confident could have been avoided if we had a pre-clinic. If not that, we had to be thorough. I realize that when we’re in clinic, many things fly past our heads. There is so much energy in the room that its hard to clearly think things through. If we were prepared the hosing situation would have not happened–if I was thorough, it wouldn’t of happened. At that moment nothing could have been done, but learned that we need to be more careful. Now our volunteers know about the importance of placing the hoses in the right place and they will never forget! Experiences like these will carry with us through our dental career so why not learn these things now? The more knowledge, the better.


Vady's first time assisting!

After our series of problems, we could only move on. We ended on a good note and by the end of the day, we did learn valuable lessons that we can all apply to  our personal life.