Our smile is something we take for granted. The students, faculty, and graduates of the Christian Dental College (CDC), Ludhiana are having a huge impact in spreading smiles in India. As part of their curriculum, many of the students spend a year in underprivileged areas of India to serve those in need. The primary aim of the Christian Dental College is to “train young individuals as professionals who are motivated to work in needy parts of India.” Keeping a sharp focus on this aim is Principal Dr. Abi Thomas.
Dr. Thomas helped our EMI team discover the campus through his eyes, revealing many physical and spiritual needs. We saw that the CDC is more than just a college. The heart of the CDC is to engage the community and the student body with the love of Christ. The respect and faithfulness of Dr. Thomas’ work was evident in his interactions with the patients and students as we toured the campus. He paused our tour to chat with the family of a young boy who had broken his mandible (jawbone) in a fall. Although there was a language barrier, we could tell Dr. Thomas was going beyond just checking on their clinical status. He genuinely wanted to express his love and concern to the family. All of us found Dr. Abi’s joy and selflessness refreshing.
During our time at the CDC we learned things about dental care that go far beyond cleanings and fillings. With nine distinct departments at the college, our team learned the differences between Periodontology (the study of the tissue structures which support teeth), Prosthodontics (dentistry dealing with the replacement of missing teeth or jaw structures by artificial devices), and Paedodontics (dentistry focusing on the care for children’s teeth). The CDC leadership was struggling with how they might meet the many new accreditation requirements that have introduced more stringent clinical necessities, as well as increasing the size requirements of spaces. We worked hard to figure out how the college could best continue to function in their old buildings – many of which are in poor condition – as well as in newer, recently constructed spaces to keep the CDC’s accreditation intact. We were faced with many challenges in terms of the physical infrastructure of the CDC. However, we remembered the faithfulness of God in the verse: “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58.
As we developed several feasible alternatives for the future expansion of the CDC, Dr. Abi reminded us, “The beauty of this place is not in the buildings, but in the lives that have been changed.” Our team experienced that in the CDC students we met. We were encouraged by their commitment to the work and excited that we could do our small part to help them keep spreading smiles throughout India.