Trips to produce smiles 

Two Whistler dental workers will be bringing a better smile to peoples’ faces here and in South America, when they embark on separate dental missions to Florida and Guyana.

Dr James McKenzie and dental assistant Karen Barnes from the Whistler Dental Office will respectively be taking on high-tech training and meeting a new kind of clientele on their endeavours.

Barnes departs April 10 on her 17-day trip, assisting a dental and medical team organized by the Mission for Advancing Theological Education (MATE), based out of Toronto. Her trip, sponsored in part by Dr. McKenzie, will serve people in remote villages along the Esquibo River. Barnes says she is excited and honoured to be invited along such a worthwhile cause.

"The people of the Esquibo River basin receive little to no formal dental and medical care," she explains. "People will often hike two to three days to visit a location where we are providing our services."

She says the team comprises three medical doctors, a dentist and support staff. "One of the medical staff in the team is actually from Guyana and was no doubt a catalyst in providing connections for this trip," she adds.

Barnes says the MATE has a solid history of providing assistance in Third World countries, but this is her first experience working on an overseas aid project. "It certainly won’t be a holiday but it is a great opportunity to travel and learn about other cultures."

Meanwhile Dr. McKenzie will be heading south in July, to Boca Raton, Florida to undergo an intensive four-week implant residency program. He says the training will especially enhance his skills in crown and bridge cosmetic work.

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