A Little Inspiration from California to Cambodia

I’m always impressed when one of our Inspired Hygiene clients steps outside of their comfort zone and does something extraordinary.  This is definitely the case with Dr. Richard Tomlinson of Tahoe City, California and his daughter Lindsey Combe, RDH.

Lindsey and Dr. Tomlinson left the US on December 28, 2014 and didn’t return until January10, 2015.  They traveled together to Cambodia to take part in a medical/dental mission.

After practicing for over 38 years and serving patients from the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, Incline Village, Truckee and beyond, Dr. Tomlinson told me this was something he and his daughter had always wanted to do and now, he can check it off his bucket list.

You’ll also be interested to see how their IH journey has elevated their patient care over the last year as reflected in their statistics.  I know their story will inspire you and you’ll enjoy the photos. Scroll down and read on!


Lindsey was one of two Hygienists and Dr. Tomlinson was one of five dentists who traveled abroad to bless the people of Cambodia with free dental care.  The majority of the over 100 volunteers were from California, but some came from as far away as Boston and Florida and also included physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and lay people.


Lindsey and Dr. Tomlinson described their experience for me:

“The clinic time was emotionally and physically exhausting. The patients that we worked with were the poorest people from the most rural areas of Cambodia.  The level of physical suffering was beyond what I could have imagined. We simply don’t know how good we have it here in the US.  We set up at a local “hospital” which looked like animal stables and the whole group was able to see about 800 patients every day.  The mission services included: nursing, pharmacy, vision, ER, pediatrics, internal medicine and dental stations.

The dental clinic saw the “healthier” population and I’m sure not one patient we had in the chair had ever seen a dentist or a toothbrush.   I was not “cleaning” many teeth.  Instead, I was administering anesthetic, performing simple extractions, assisting dentists with more complicated extractions, taking x-rays and sterilizing instruments. I was also administering fluoride and working on basic oral health education. I had to teach other volunteers how to teach brushing techniques because I had so much to do in the clinic I had to outsource the patient education. After working with the Cambodian people so intimately, I now feel a very intense connection with them and their culture.  I hope to be able to return to Cambodia on another missions trip.

My dad and I spent an amazing week with a fantastic group of volunteer professionals.  Each one of them solid, hardworking, lovely individuals who chose to spend a few days giving of their time and expertise.  The group is called Project Angkor.  Visit the website for more information:www.projectangkor.org.”

Dental Care in action

Dr Tomlinson and patient

In addition to helping needy patients in Cambodia, Dr. Tomlinson and his team are providing excellent care for the population of Tahoe City and beyond.  Take a look at the chart below which details how far they’ve come and how many periodontal patients are receiving life saving periodontal care.  Great job Dr. Tomlinson and team!  My hat’s off to all of you! 

Patients waiting for their number to be called

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