Global Brigades is an international non-profit that empowers communities to meet their health and economic goals through university volunteers and local teams.

Dental Brigades FAQ

I’m a pre-dental student/dental professional interested in a volunteer experience. Can the Dental Brigade program help me?

Dental Brigades offer university students and dental professionals hands-on experience in the field of dentistry in remote communities in Honduras, Panama, and Guatemala. Even if you are not a pre-dental student, you can still join and support community members and experience local culture. In conjunction with our Medical Brigades program, we establish mobile dental clinics where we provide many dental services in rural areas that do not have access to oral care otherwise. Dental caries (also known as tooth decay or cavities) is the most common disease in the world. In our Honduran, Panamanian, and Guatemalan communities, dentists note that over ninety percent of the people have cavities and that 80% of the population has no access to any type of dental care.

Can you tell me more about how I might get specific hands-on experiences? What kinds of things might I be doing as a member of the Dental Brigade?

As a member of the Dental Brigade Program, you participate in a one-week Dental Brigade in Honduras or Panama, where we will partner with communities to set up dental clinics. Volunteers will shadow licensed dentists while they complete extractions, cleanings, scalings, and fillings. Only licensed healthcare professionals will be able to perform procedures.

Volunteers also play a vital role in our dental educational workshops. Every volunteer has the opportunity to shadow various procedures and to make a difference in the oral health of the community.

Will I be able to actually work directly with patients? I want more patient contact.

If you want more patient contact as an undergraduate, Dental Brigades provides a unique opportunity for you to work closely with patients in communities. The students will be able to shadow licensed medical professionals as they give full consultations, observe doctors as they prescribe medications for patients, and assist pharmacists in filling prescriptions.

Healthcare professionals, if accredited through the brigade, may be permitted to work directly with patients.

I'm interested in the Dental Program. Although, I’m very scared of needles and dental procedures. Can I still make an impact?

Definitely. We want volunteers to feel comfortable with the work that is provided. There are many things you can do outside of the dental room. The most sustainable aspect of our program is the educational workshop, or “charla.” In this station, you will have the unique opportunity to make a lasting impact, especially with the children in the community. Volunteers will provide dental education in the form of a game, skit, song, etc., and show patients how to brush their teeth and maintain a healthy lifestyle. This is one of the best ways to really get to know the community and experience local culture.

Do I need any special experience before I can participate in a Dental Brigade?

Dental Brigades offer opportunities for volunteers with varying degrees of dental experience. If you’re a pre-dental student or just an interested volunteer, you have the opportunity to see nearly every aspect of the Dental Brigade. Dental Brigades has no prerequisites other than a willingness to learn and a passion to better understand under-resourced communities.

If you are a licensed dentist, your role will be more technical than that of our student volunteers. Our brigades generally provide services such as extractions, fillings, cleanings, scalings and fluoride treatments.

Can volunteers perform teeth extractions?

Non-licensed volunteers cannot perform any procedures but will have the amazing opportunity to observe and learn from licensed dentists and hygienists. There are many things volunteers can do to help with the brigade. Our goal is to provide only the highest quality of care to our patients and keep our volunteers safe while providing an educational shadowing experience.

Is there a minimum or maximum number of volunteers for groups?

For University Chapters, there is a minimum of 18 volunteers. To fairly serve the community’s needs, this number is non-negotiable. The maximum volunteer number varies per programming country.

Where do the funds I raise go?

Volunteers do not pay to participate in a Dental Brigade. Instead, volunteers fundraise to support Global Brigades’ Holistic Model. Once a volunteer meets a set Donation Goal, they are eligible to join us on-the-ground to see their fundraising efforts put into action by participating in a Dental Brigade.

When a volunteer participates in a Dental Brigade, the volunteer’s ground transportation, food, lodging, and emergency insurance are all covered. The funding that the volunteer raised also supports all the necessary costs for program implementation, such as equipment, local dentists, pharmacists, translators, and support staff.

Visit our financials page to learn about how donor funds are utilized.

Is this safe?

The safety of the volunteers is Global Brigades’ number one priority and is the single most important consideration when entering a community or choosing a project. Each country that Global Brigades serves in has implemented safety protocols and policies to decrease any risk of danger and to ensure that any emergency can be properly handled in a prompt and professional manner. For more information on safety precautions, emergency procedures, and insurance information, please visit Safety and Insurance on the Volunteer Resource Site.

This sounds great. How do I get involved?

First, find out if your university has a Dental Brigades Chapter by searching for your university on the Chapters tab. If your university does not have a Chapter, fill out the form below to get connected to one of our staff members.

This DONATION is non-refundable

This DONATION is non-refundable Global Brigades, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Your donation will be used to further Global Brigades' mission and will be allocated toward the program you selected. This donation will not be utilized to fulfill a chapter or a volunteer's fundraising goal. Read Global Brigades, Inc's full Donation Refund Policy here.

Looking to donate to support a volunteer's fundraising goal? Find their Global Brigades Chapter by searching our Chapters map and then selecting their upcoming brigade. If you need help finding their chapter, you can ask the volunteer to send you their brigade's specific website link or you can contact us.

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