Open Wide Journey …Being Home Again

Being Home

Saturday, February 11 ended my journey in Guatemala – one journey I will never let go from my mind. This journey has allowed me the opportunity to open my mind in a new way of listening, not only to instincts, family and my surroundings, but allowing the pieces of the “puzzle” to fall on the table to form the picture. I have had an incredible journey to Guatemala …but it’s good to be home.

The Picture

Each piece of the puzzle took me on my journey. Day one started with the unknown. What is expected of me? What do I expect of myself? What do I want to accomplish at the end of this day and how am I going to get there? Meeting new friends, helping those in need and turning my day-to-day professional skills into reality for the Open Wide Foundation started this week off.

The Pieces

Learning a new environment and observing workflow with this new clinic, I knew that together we could implement a few systems. Understanding workflow in the dental industry is unlike any other profession. I thank our manufacturers that have engineered equipment for ergonomics and efficiency. Our valued partners have observed, listened and implemented equipment design to fit their needs. Some understand this concept in design … others have never been exposed to the equipment and technology that we use every day.

I had the pleasure of meeting the most inviting, compassionate and receptive people in our industry. ”I am an expanded-functions dental assistant; now I work for Patterson Dental,” I explained. I saw the look of “placing restorations …?” I had to explain my dental background and how state law in Indiana allows dental assistants, with training, to place restorations – one minute placing MODs on #4-5, the next minute installing the Lisa sterilizer. My journey was beginning with my new friends in Peronia, Guatemala.

The Formula for a Lasting Change

The clinic in Peronia is situated near a dental school in Guatemala City. The dental students work alongside the Open Wide Foundation volunteers to receive mentoring and training, raising the bar for “standard of care.” For instance, we did not place one amalgam restoration (all composites). We taught oral hygiene instructions and explained how using digital radiography will allow comprehensive diagnosis and ease patient case presentation. Patients are now being educated on their oral health and oral disease. Being given the equipment and technology to educate their students is a complete change for this community. This begins the platform for their future.

How Can I Help?

As a Patterson rep, my vision is to bring doctors to the clinic to work alongside them and to build a strong, loyal relationship to work toward a common goal: to teach and inspire others in our industry clinical excellence across the globe.

How Can You Help?

Experience the journey. Write your own. Be among the leaders in the industry and join this elite group dedicated to improving the lives of a community in need.

Contact Kim Knotter, Open Wide Executive Director, at 855-843-8444 or visit Or contact me … I’ll be happy to talk about my experience.

2 thoughts on “Open Wide Journey …Being Home Again

  1. Teri you are such a wonderful person! Mario and I knew that from the first day we met you at the Hinman last year. Thank you for sharing your amazing journey with us! ♥ Looking forward to working with you in the future!

  2. I work at Kaplan College 71st street as a diploma dental assistant instructor, and have had our students to Patterson a few time. I am sure I met you a few times. I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading about the trip you took to help other countries in the Dental field. Great!

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