while earning Fellowship in the International Dental Implant Association
Dr. Goran Topalo, a dentist at Plum Grove Dental in Palatine, recently returned from a trip to the Dominican Republic, where he served as a team member for dental missionary. Dr. Topalo joined an international team of highly trained implant surgeons in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to offer their services to Dominican people who otherwise could not afford them. The team was led by a chief dental implant instructor, professor Dr. Arun Garg, a world renowned maxillofacial surgeon and one of the top implantologists in the world. Dr. Topalo and colleagues performed numerous surgical dental procedures, with main emphasis on dental implants, bone grafting and extractions. Each dentist from a group of about 20 was able to provide more than 36 hours of surgery over three days. The group as a whole provided free care in an excess of 1 million dollars during their mission.
"The experience was most gratifying and truly amazing. For a dentist, nothing is more rewarding than helping people in need to restore the functionality of their bite, lessening inherent pain and providing them with the ability to smile, with confidence. It was a tremendous honor and privilege to work with and learn from such a distinguished group of experts in our field. As a result, I was able to employ my surgical skills that I've spent extensive time training for."
At the University Clinic, where treatment took place, patients formed long lines to be seen, some waiting for many hours. Dr. Topalo was very moved and deeply touched by the appreciation the Dominican people showed to the missionaries. "Patients were lined up each morning in front of the clinic and when the doctors arrived they were greeted by clapping hands and loud cheers. I felt like a professional athlete coming off a field, victorious. I have never witnesses anything like that and it was those moments that reinforced the significance of our mission and how much our free care meant to these wonderful, deserving people. It was touching and humbling at the same time. I hope to participate in many more volunteering trips with the group moving forward."
Dr. Topalo was awarded a Fellowship in the International Dental Implant Association (IDIA) for his efforts.