Dr. Timothy Martinez DMD Reflects On His Vital Cambodia Trip
Mar 23, 2023
In 2017, Dr. Timothy Martinez DMD traveled to Cambodia to offer vital free dental care to children in Siem Reap. The veteran dentist and his peers did so to collaborate with a leading children’s hospital in the city. The Doctor of Dental Medicine’s trip came while he was the Associate Dean for Community Partnerships and Access to Care at the University of New England College of Dental Medicine.
UNE College of Dental Medicine
The University of New England College of Dental Medicine was the first dental college established in Northern New England. Welcoming its inaugural class a decade ago, the specialist institution has gone from strength to strength in the ten years since then. That’s thanks in no small part to the tireless work of its faculty members and initiatives like the school’s charitable efforts in Cambodia and elsewhere.
Looking back, dentist Dr. Timothy Martinez recalls how he, fellow faculty members, and a number of UNE dental students traveled to Cambodia just over five years ago. He and his team headed to the Southeast Asian nation to collaborate with Angkor Hospital for Children in the country’s second-largest city on externship rotations.
Siem Reap bound
While in Siem Reap, his team worked alongside Cambodian dentists, dental nurses, and other professionals from around the globe. All patients received free care during the collective team’s visit to Angkor Hospital for Children. Many families traveled for several hours to the hospital, hoping their children would be among those granted much-needed free care.
For the duration of their stay in Siem Reap, Dr. Martinez and others from UNE College of Dental Medicine and numerous additional overseas institutions saw 60 patients daily as a part of their nonprofit clinic. The Doctor of Dental Medicine recalls that many of their young patients required extensive dental work. His diary from the visit details how patient after the patient arrived in great pain with abscesses and multiple decayed teeth.
On the first day of their nonprofit clinic at Angkor Hospital for Children, all but a single patient seen by Dr. Timothy Martinez DMD, and his team had multiple cavities. He recalls that those lucky enough to receive attention from the visiting dentists and students were all immensely grateful.
Having eased their discomfort, no matter how much pain they were in at the outset, they all ended their visit with graceful gestures. In Cambodia, this often means putting one’s hands together and giving a slight head bow. All said thank you, too – some in the local Khmer language and others in English, often learned especially to show appreciation to the visiting experts.
Moreover, all the children treated also showed universal appreciation to their parents for getting them the vital dental care they needed. That’s as many had to miss a full day’s work to travel to Siem Reap from surrounding cities, towns, and villages – something for which all of the children treated were wholly grateful.