OU College of Dentistry Extern Experiences Madill

Posted by Susan Hoover on 03/20/2014

 

California native and fourth-year dental student Tyler Holt got a taste of southern Oklahoma this month, spending two weeks on-board MobileSmiles Oklahoma providing free dental care in Madill. Holt was selected to do his required externship with MobileSmiles and experienced the joys and trials of rural dentistry, while treating children and adults in the area.
 
When Holt first stepped inside, all he previously knew about the program was that it travelled around Oklahoma providing dental care for those who can’t afford a dentist or do not have access. What he learned with us, however, changed his viewpoint on dental access.
 
“We, as dentists, need to find a way to provide care for rural areas and those who cannot afford dental care. There were so many people that needed more than what time would allow us to provide. MobileSmiles is a great way for dentists to volunteer and provide that care.”
 
Holt compared the situations of the patients in Madill to those seen at the OU clinic, except he noticed a huge difference: finances. Even patients who received just a cleaning were so grateful and kind for the services provided; it was so rewarding to work with these people, he said.
 
After graduating this semester, Holt will begin an Orthodontic residency at OU. He plans to return to California and begin a practice, but he has one thing to say about his MobileSmiles experience:
“Take this wonderful opportunity to give back to Oklahoma. It is such a rewarding experience. There are so many people who need dental care, and dentists don’t need to plan a grand mission trip around the world to have a fulfilling experience – MobileSmiles provides a way to dentists to volunteer in their own backyard.”
 
Thanks so much to the Texoma Health Foundation for making this project possible, and allowing under-served populations in southern Oklahoma to have access to free dental care.