The Team Returns from the Thailand Mission

06/18/2012

We’ve asked the dentists who traveled on the Smile Brands sponsored trip to Thailand in May 2012 to share their stories. Here is today’s, from Dr. Randy Richardson, a lead dentist and Market Dental Director for Monarch Dental from the Dallas-Fort Worth Area.

As this mission trip was a first for me, I went with a guarded outlook, not really knowing what to expect. What I personally wanted was to make a connection with the people I went to help, and to experience the rewards for providing a service that the people would not have received otherwise. It was truly a labor of love – both giving, and receiving.

My expectations were met and exceeded abundantly. The acceptance and gratitude from the Thai children was overwhelming, as was their total lack of fear and bold courage to allow us to treat them without complaint.

One case in particular involved a 16-year-old tribal boy (a warrior, in my mind!) who had a draining abscess on the lower left side. I asked him (through an interpreter) how long the tooth had bothered him, and he said four years! After I numbed him, he had a surprised look on his face, and then he just smiled. The tooth was removed, and he was experiencing no pain for the first time in four years. The smile and bow told the whole story!

Another unexpected perk from this trip was the bonding that we shared as a team. By the time we gathered for the third day, we were organized, tight-knit, and learning about ourselves and each other with a new and exciting fervor. By the end of the journey, we could truly say that we had undergone a life-changing experience.



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