When David R. Ericksen, DDS, opened his dental office six years ago he wanted to establish a family practice. He is passionate about patient education and bringing dental services to those in need, including those in other countries, through his humanitarian trips. He has traveled to Guatemala, Bolivia, Nepal and Mexico, donating his services.
Ericksen Family Dental sees patients from three years old up to 103 years old. The office offers a wide range of services, including, pediatric, emergency, and cosmetic dentistry, as well as cleanings, implants, and teeth whitening. His caring staff includes his wife, Cassandra, who is his office manager.
David and Cassandra have roots in Arizona and have been married for two and a half years. They reside in the Tempe Arizona Stake. Cassandra is fluent in Spanish and skilled in the dental operatory. She travels with and assists David on their humanitarian trips.
When the Ericksens go to Guatemala, Bolivia, and Nepal, they work with a group out of Salt Lake City called Choice Humanitarian, generally spending two weeks per excursion. These trips are self-funded. Dr. Ericksen brings his own supplies, equipment, medications and hand instruments. They work in portable dental units and focus on getting people out of pain. In most instances that involves the surgical extraction of teeth that are beyond repair. Their work also includes doing fillings and restorative care, where possible.
They go to remote villages where they sleep in tents. One week they saw patients in three additional villages, many needing extensive care. That week more than 200 people were seen and 500 teeth extracted. David strives to educate the people in proper dental hygiene and preventative care. He loves to teach and has a background in education. Before going to dental school, he taught chemistry at Arizona State University.
“The physical need and suffering in these rural communities is great,” says David. “Coming from a land of plenty with modern conveniences, it’s remarkable to note the contrast between their physical health needs and the health of their hearts. This is most obvious to me when I hear the villagers greet us in their language, ‘Ma’ sa’ la chool,’ which means, ‘Is there happiness in your heart?’ Their focus is clear. They know what life is all about.”
Weekend humanitarian trips to Mexico involve Dr. Ericksen’s entire staff. These trips are organized by a group called The Flying Samaritans. Although he is able to work out of a modern clinic when in Mexico, he still brings his own medicines and supplies and leaves extras behind.
Ericksen Family Dental is located at 1010 E. University Dr., Mesa, AZ 85203. Their number is 480-644-7777. More information can be found at their website: http://www.ericksendental.com/