In the spring of 1995, Dr. Dennis Bedard and his daughter Nicole travelled to Comitancillo, Guatemala, with nothing more than a case of anesthetic and a few forceps. Intent on doing something for the poor in the area, they brought dental care to those who had never before seen (or perhaps heard of) a dentist. Comitancillo is in one of the poorest and most remote regions of Guatemala.
Located in the department of San Marcos, in the hot and arid mountains in Guatemala’s western highlands, Comitancillo is a municipality of about 60,000 people. In 1995, Guatemala was just emerging from 37 years of civil war. That first trip, in partnership with a nursing group from Edmonton, led to the formation of The Society for Third World Dental Care (Dentistry for All) (2000), an Alberta-based multi-national volunteer organization, currently sending volunteers annually to Nicaragua and Guatemala. Dennis’s wife Beverley joined him in 1996, and together they have provided dental services not only to those in need in Guatemala but also Nicaragua and the Philippines. Since Dentistry for All was founded, over 70 missions have been completed, and over 28,000 people have been treated, with nearly 80,000 procedures performed. Dentistry for All has sent approximately 840 volunteers to work over 180 volunteer weeks.