The return of the Dental Bears

The Faculty of Dental Medicine and Oral Health Sciences’ teachers are not only talented dentists and educators, but they are also dedicated health care providers working on the frontlines of care delivery. The Dental Bears, a group of dedicated dentists including Faculty members Dr. Véronique Benhamou, Dr. Gerard Melki, and Dr. Robert Clark, travel to Central and South America, the Caribbean, Asia and other regions to provide basic dental services for free to those who have little or no access to dental care. Since their first mission over 18 years ago, the Dental Bears have treated thousands of patients for extractions, cleanings, and cavity repairs. All group members volunteer their time and gather all the equipment and supplies needed for each mission. “We keep the cost as low as we can so that it becomes affordable to everyone. We stay in basic accommodations and some members like Dr. Melki and myself sponsor people to come with us” says Dr. Benhamou aka Mama Bear.

eight people hugging each other with their luggage in an airport 

After a three year break due to the pandemic, the Dental Bears returned to their humanitarian work in December 2022. The group made up of Dr. Benhamou, Papa Bear Dr. Melki and Supreme Care Bear Dr. Clark, one other dentist and four assistants travelled to the Dominican Republic to provide dental care to low-income residents and families in Santo Domingo. The mission was carried out in partnership with Kindness in Action, an organization that brings dental care to low-income communities in Central and South America and Asia, and supported by Groupe Helios, a Quebec company currently working in the Dominican Republic cleaning water conduits, building roads and living spaces in collaboration with local and Canadian governments. During the four-day trip, the group treated 150 patients.

The Dental Bears are returning to the Dominican Republic on April 12, this time with fourth year DMD students Hisham Sabri and Sydney Hetherington and third year DMD students Courtney Boyne and Mackenzie Salmon. “We bring dental medicine students with us to introduce them to humanitarian causes and to give them the ‘bug’ to continue in the future” says Dr. Benhamou. She has also started a fundraising page to defray travel costs and the cost of dental supplies. “Each donation enables us to provide more pain relief to both the young and old. We offer basic dental care, but it is essential care for those who cannot afford it.”

Follow the Dental Bears on Facebook and Instagram.

Back to top