Dental hygienist Jill Moore returns

from second trip to Harbin China


Dave Willis of The Delta Optimist reports in the  Wednesday, October 31, 2007 on the Alliance for Smiles trip to Harbin, China.

Tsawwassen Rotarian Jill Moore was busy helping provide dental care to kids in Harbin, China last month.


"The families were so grateful. They hug and kiss you and thank [you] so much for changing their child's life," said the local dental hygienist.


Over a two-week period, a 30-member team of volunteers, which included Moore, completed over 100 cleft lip and palate surgeries, performed teeth cleaning, and passed along knowledge about dental techniques and equipment.


The mission was organized by the Alliance for Smiles organization. Rotary clubs fund the group.


"A lot of these kids had never seen a dentist ever before, so for them, it was unusual to even sit in a dentist's chair," she said.


The team worked in the Number Four People's Hospital in Harbin, a city in northeast China.

This was Moore's second trip to China with the San Francisco-based Alliance for Smiles program.


"It's a lot of hard work but when you're finished ... you get to see the results with the children and see their smiles."


Kids with a cleft lip or palate are often ostracized because they look different, she said.

"It makes you feel wonderful that you can give a child at least a chance of having a normal life where they're accepted."


Her group, which commuted by bus from a hotel about 15 minutes away, spent "long days" working with local staff at the hospital.


"The bus left at 6:45 in the morning and we were lucky if we got back by 6 or 7," she said.

Moore also brought about 2,500 toothbrushes to China. Members of Interact, a local service club for teens, undertook a toothbrush drive earlier this year and passed along what they gathered to Moore.


Moore went on her first trip to China last September.


Alliance for Smiles, a non-profit group, helps provide free comprehensive treatment including reconstructive surgery and dental treatment to children born with cleft lip and palate problems in under-served areas of China, according to its website.

© The Delta Optimist 2007