Dr. Plancich and Bryce with a Patient Plancich Dental prides itself on changing lives through oral health and aesthetic. But every year, Doctor Gregory Plancich takes that mission an international flight farther by crossing borders in the name of global and sustainable dental progress. The destination? Open Wide Foundation’s main dental clinic in Peronia, Guatemala. Dr. Plancich doesn’t go the road alone. He shares the life changing experience with his sons and a select group of students and staff invited to partake. Upon return, the exchange has benefited not only thousands of Guatemalan citizens but the next generation of top dental health professionals from our own community.

It all began in 2013 when Dr. Plancich first stepped up as a donor and ambassador with the Open Wide Foundation. Their partnership facilitated free dental services for those from impoverished areas, who have the greatest need and far less in dental resources. For the Tacoma dentist, it was that first mission trip that changed his reality and evolved the experience into a valuable, annual occasion. And it’s now that time of the year again. The team is currently preparing to depart for the 2,914 mile journey the week of March 14. The days following will be packed with fillings, cleaning and treatments plans, distribution of home care packages and access to oral health education for all ages.

Spear Education first introduced Dr. Plancich to Open Wide’s outreach where clinics were being opened around the Central American country to encourage a long term approach to oral disease. “Local partnership and commitment are essential, but a dental clinic can’t function without equipment or the skills of dentists.”

Among those expected to be in attendance are local hygienist Sam Bowen and University of Washington students Bryce Plancich, AJ Morrow and Brendan Lopez. Mid week they will be joined by Dr. Abraham John from Connecticut and his daughter and assistant Priya John, local Open Wide Foundation board member & Guatemalan liaison Evelyn Paiz, Open Wide Foundation founder Imtiaz Manji and potentially Paul Guggenheim, Patterson Dental CEO, with his son Ryan Guggenheim.

“I was blown away by the experience of mission dentistry with the Open Wide Foundation,” says Dr. Plancich according to his Open Wide Ambassador page. “It’s one of the most meaningful and rewarding things you can do. The patients are so incredibly thankful. One Trip to Open Wide and you’ll be hooked for life!”

Fundraising continues for those interested in aiding Dr. Plancich and the Open Wide Foundation in provide dental procedures, preventative care and oral health education to those without means. To learn more about donating, visit: www.razoo.com/us/story/Open-Hearts-For-Dentistry-By-Dr-Plancich.