Dr. Patrick Tanner, a cosmetic dentist in South Ogden, Utah, recently returned from El Salvador, where he and his wife joined 114 other volunteers in providing dental work to teenagers in need. The humanitarian trip was organized by Smiles for Central America, a group that sends volunteer dental professionals to a different South American country every six months.
The organization’s spring 2013 mission was its most successful yet. The group, which included 32 dentists and three hygienists, provided treatment to 1,051 teenagers, most of whom had never visited the dentist in their lives. The previous record for patients treated by the group during a single mission was approximately 800.
Dr. Tanner specially trained his wife so that she would be able to assist him during the trip. Together, they were responsible for treating 70 of the more than 1,000 teenagers seen by the group.
“The cases varied from kids who needed basic cleanings and fillings to one girl who was in dire need of help,” said Dr. Tanner. “Ultimately, we were able to remove her wisdom teeth and save all of her other teeth. She was in a lot of pain, and she was afraid that she would have to have all of her teeth extracted.”
In addition to providing dental treatments, the Smiles for Central America volunteers took photos of the teenagers showing off their healthy smiles with their families. These photos were then framed and given to the patients as gifts, along with hygiene kits and an assortment of toys, including soccer balls, tiaras, and superhero capes.
While in El Salvador, Dr. Tanner and his wife also went to a maternity ward, where they comforted women who had lost their babies and gave away blankets and hygiene kits to new mothers. They took only one brief break from their typical fourteen-hour-plus workdays, traveling to Roatan, Honduras to celebrate their twenty-third wedding anniversary.
In all, Dr. Tanner estimates that the group performed roughly $2 million worth of dental work while turning no one who was in need away. “There was always enough energy to see one more patient,” he stated. “It’s fun to be focused on other people, to give and not have to ask for anything in return.”
In spring 2014, Smiles for Central America will be traveling to Honduras. Dr. Tanner plans for he and his wife to participate once again and hopes to be able to bring the entire South Ogden Smiles dental team along with him.
Dr. Patrick Tanner provides a full range of cosmetic, restorative, and preventive dentistry services to patients from throughout Utah. He takes a holistic approach to dentistry, carefully balancing the goals and preferences of his patients with their oral health and whole body health needs. Among many other treatments, he offers porcelain veneers, teeth whitening, Invisalign® clear orthodontics, dental crowns and bridges, and comprehensive smile makeovers.
Further information about Dr. Patrick Tanner can be obtained by visiting http://www.southogdensmiles.com or by contacting him at:
South Ogden Smiles
5856 S. Harrison Blvd., Suite B
South Ogden, UT 84403
Further information about Smiles for Central America can be obtained by visiting http://www.smilesforcentralamerica.com.
Dr. Tanner's office and staff are the best!!! I’ve been going to him for over ten years and always have been treated with the best care. Even when I had an emergency, they got me right in. His work is exceptional, and pretty much pain free!!