Dental Hygiene training program
Our two-year vocational dental hygiene training program allows young indigenous Bolivian women the opportunity to study in a half-day training program, and to work for the other part of the day to support themselves and (in some cases) their children. Each of our students is fully supported by scholarship.
Lectures have been developed by dental hygienists and professors of dental hygiene from the United States, and are continually revised and updated. One to two days a week, students receive lectures from Bolivian dentists and hygienists. The rest of the week is spent with hands-on training in the fee-for-service dental clinic (see below). Students work with patients to provide dental cleanings, home-care instruction, x-rays and dental sealants. These services are provided through our fee-for-service clinic and community partners, allowing trainees the opportunities to improve their clinical skills.
Following graduation, all students are supported in securing full-time job placement. Graduates have aspired to go even further by becoming dentists through the public University in Cochabamba. Currently four graduates - one dentist and three hygienists - have returned to work in the dental program at Smiles Forever. Three graduates are attending dental school in Cochabamba at thepublic University of San Simo.
In 2013, the original dental clinic at the Madre de Dios homeless shelter closed its doors. Since then, Smiles Forever has relocated and embraced the challenge to offer free dental and restorative services by partnering with 27 other nonprofits, shelters, and foundations in the Cochabamba area.
Partnering with local organizations allows us to reach many needy children and adults throughout Bolivia, and to date, we have served more than 37,000 people.
Some of our local partners include:
- Mosoi Punchay is a burn center for children, offering physiological support and physical therapy to children who have been badly burnt
- Ninos con Valor helps children who have been affected by AIDS
- Casa de Amistad is a day shelter for children living with their parents in jail
Public fee-for-service clinic
Our public, fee-for-service clinic provides provide professional dental cleanings and top quality restorative dental care to the people of Cochabamba. All patients receive dental cleanings and are advised to return on a three- to six-month basis for exams and cleaning as needed. Patients pay for dental services, and these fees support our dental hygiene training program and free community outreach programs. Additionally, senior hygiene students work in the clinic as part of their coursework before they graduate.
We offer all dental service services to the general public. Contact us for information about dental services.