Dr. Cameron Quayle couldn’t find a nonprofit group whose vision for dental missions aligned with his. So he started ONE HIMSELF.
AFTER COMPLETING his first humanitarian mission to Guatemala a decade ago, Dr. Cameron Quayle was startled by the deprivation he’d witnessed—and was determined to go back. “I knew I couldn’t change much of what they lacked, but I could improve their oral health and dental education,” says Dr. Quayle, who practices at Mountain View Pediatric Dentistry, with two locations near Salt Lake City.
“Our model was to help fewer people but do more treatment on those patients and restore their mouths to the best health possible.”
Politely rebuffed by a number of nonprofit groups he approached—he wished to undertake longer missions than they could accommodate, he says—he decided to found his own organization, Mason Gives, in 2017. (The name is a nod to Mason the Moose, his practice’s mascot; Mountain View Pediatric’s web address is themoosedentist.com.)
The Benco Family Foundation was the first outside group to donate; companies including KaVo Kerr, Ultradent and 3M, among others, followed suit, enabling Dr. Quayle to embark on a 10-month trip to Guatemala in 2018-19. He and his fellow travelers were able to comprehensively treat more than 1,000 patients in that time.
“Our model was to help fewer people but do more treatment on those patients and restore their mouths to the best health possible,” he says.
Difficulties abounded. One time Dr. Quayle and his team made a multi-hour trip to help some 100-plus patients in a remote location. Many of them, they discovered, were in need of major restorative care as well as procedures requiring anesthesia—so Dr. Quayle had to bring them back to his clinic however he could. “We hired a chicken bus to transport them,” he says.
His animating drive is a desire to avoid what he calls the “someday” trap—as in, someday I’ll pursue my more far-flung passions. “I didn’t want to work until I was 65 and then start living,” he says. “I wanted to expose my family to a different experience than anything in the United States. I love what I do as a pediatric dentist, but I wanted to share my talents with people who would [otherwise] never be able to receive this care.”
Such dedication pays off in unexpected ways. One night Dr. Quayle was at a local market when a young girl recognized him. “She walked up to me and then ran away, but a moment later came running back with friends,” he says. “She pointed at me: ‘He is my dentist, he is my dentist!’ ”
To help support Dr. Cameron Quayle and Mason Gives through donations or other means, please visit masongives.com.