Local dentist goes to Guatemala to offer free dental care

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- Local dentist Dr. Glen Dean started making trips to help the less fortunate in Guatemala.

Dr. Dean has made the trip more than 30 times, serving almost 5,000 people. He first saw the need back in 2005, when he went on a trip with his son and nephew.

In 2008 he rounded up a group of dental volunteers from across the country, with his team at the ready he’s flying back out Friday.

“We just go down and try to see if we can't better the lives of the people who are there,” said Dean said. "We will do extractions, we do fillings, we will do crowns, we even have an anesthesiologist."

After visiting Guatemala several times before, he knew something had to be done.

"Last year I was in Guatemala five times and this year I will probably be there three or four times,” said Dean. "There’s an absolutely huge need for dental care there. What we want to try to do is save teeth and keep them there."

He speaks both English and Spanish, a handy tool to have while traveling through Guatemala.

"I don't want to retire, I feel good, I have lots of energy and I don't know what I would do, I guess I go back to take care of the people that I love,” said Dean.

It’s not just dentistry. Glen personally pays for the education of eight Guatemalan children, including one girl training to be a nurse.

"I was down there and she was crying. I said 'what's wrong,' and she says 'I’m just so happy, you put me in school and the kids in the school voted for me to compete in the queen contest and now I’m the queen of the pueblo,'” said Dean.

He makes it his duty to help the less fortunate one tooth at a time.

"The families came back and they typically have better oral care than what they had when we first saw them,” said Mary White, personal assistant to Dr. Dean.

Dr. Dean is currently working with CU in Denver to help set up a permanent dental clinic, with his team they are bringing over new equipment.

Dr. Dean works at both Ruby Canyon Dental and Fun at the Dentist. He will be out of the country for ten days.

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