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Mar 28, 2012

Dental Program Continues to Make a Difference

Dental staff provides oral health education
Dental staff provides oral health education

Dr. Lisa Bozzetti, Virginia Garcia Dental Director, shares:

“More and more, we are witnessing the positive results of consistent oral health education with our families. For example, in one family we might see the six-year old, who has multiple silver crowns and missing teeth due to baby bottle cavities; a three-year old sibling with fewer cavities; and the baby, who has already been seen by a dentist at Baby Days, on her way to good oral health. As families understand the relationship between diet and nutrition and oral health through education, we expect that we will see even more improvement. Additionally, we are arming parents with the information they need to properly care for their children’s teeth and gums and encouraging them to bring their children in for regular appointments.

We are happy to report that we’ve observed that an increased number of kids are coming in, completing their treatment plans, and moving forward to better oral health. Parents arrive to our door thinking that cavities are an inevitable fact of life, a part of growing up for any child. After receiving education, they come to realize that decay is preventable and their children do not need to be in pain.”

Children, especially those who are under- or uninsured, are often excluded from our health care system and go without routine primary and oral health care.  According to the Oregon Health Authority’s Healthy Teens Survey (2009), more than 52% of eighth graders did not have a medical check-up or physical exam in the past year and 29% of 11th graders reported unmet physical or emotional health needs. Lack of access to oral health care also has a negative effect on the children we serve, as children from low-income families in Oregon suffer twice the rate of untreated tooth decay and are 30% less likely to see a dentist as children from higher income households.  

Thanks to your support, we are able to continue to provide dental care to serve this vulnerable population and improve the health of our community’s children.

Dec 28, 2011

Mai's Story

Mai
Mai

As we draw 2011 to a close, we are pleased to take a look back and the work that has occured in our dental clinics. In 2011 alone, our dental program served over 8,000 community members in need with vital dental care. Of those 8,000 patients, 6,000 were children with no other option for care.

Virginia Garcia's Dental Director shares a story about one of these children:

In 2008, I began treatment with a little five-year-old named Mai, who had extensive dental problems. She was frightened when she arrived at the clinic and was subsequently very uncooperative during her exam. Her mother begged us to try treatment on her as she’d just had dental work done at a pediatric dental clinic, and the family was unable to afford further treatment there. I was hesitant at first and started by recommending that she see a specialist in pediatric dentistry.

Mai’s mom insisted that we try, and as the family had no insurance and little resources, I agreed to help. I recommended that we try nitrous oxide (laughing gas) during treatment. We struggled for the first few appointments, but after coming in a few times, Mai relaxed and became more cooperative.

After six months and multiple visits, I am pleased to report that we were able to successfully complete her extensive treatment.  Her mom is thrilled because she can actually afford to bring her in to see us here at Virginia Garcia and Mai is now pain-free and on her way to improved oral health. 

Three years later, I still see Mai for her regular check-ups, and she no longer suffers from acute dental problems. Her mother understands the importance of routine care and she can afford to bring her to us. It is rewarding to see Mai arrive, always with a big smile on her face. She no longer needs nitrous for any treatment and she has lost all six stainless steel crowns as her beautiful white permanent teeth come in. 

At Virginia Garcia, we understand the value in providing treatment to kids who may not have anywhere else to turn. Our dental providers routinely work with children and help them to overcome their fears and achieve—many for the first time—a pain free mouth and improved oral health. With our emphasis on educating the whole family on how to care for their teeth, we can make a real and lasting difference in the lives of our young patients daily.

-Dr. Lisa Bozzetti

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Oct 10, 2011

Dental Services Prepare to Expand

Although the project is still hoping to gain additional supporters, we are approaching a very exciting time for our children's dental program, and all services for our patients. Our current Cornelius Clinic location is in the midst of a major overhaul, which will not only provide critical wellness programs to keep our patients healthy, but also an expanded dental clinic that will increase how many patients can be seen. Our hope is to always have children visit the dentist by their first birthday or their first tooth.

Currently, our dental clinic shares space with our vision clinic. Both of these programs will have their own space beginning in the fall of 2012 to serve patients and expand programs. Having the larger space will better allow our dental staff to accomodate the many children ready to get in and see their first dentist. We look forward to sharing future updates on how this construction will impact our patients and our community.

Patients affected by this new space include this teen who sent this note to his dentist at Virginia Garcia:

“I would like to thank you all for the excellent service and treatment I have received over the last few months. This place is a complete treasure.

 I came here very desperate after trying over a dozen places in and outside of Portland. This place was my last hope. I was thinking about the idea of losing my front teeth, which was difficult for me. Everyone treated me with more respect here than any other dental office I have visited, despite not having insurance or very much money. Everyone here also knows their stuff, more so, than some of the pricier dentists who shrugged and turned me away. Thank you so much!”

Thank you for your support!

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