Gabriela smiles with her daughter
“Your daughter is beautiful!” exclaims Yadira Martinez, dental hygienist at Virginia Garcia Hillsboro’s dental clinic. Gabriela Lopez beams. When Gabriela first came to VG Dental she wasn’t smiling. “My gums were sore and swollen,” said Gabriela. “I have a blood clotting disorder that makes it painful to brush my teeth, so I didn’t brush them.” Virginia Garcia’s dental director, Dr. Lisa Bozzetti, convinced Gabriela to begin oral health treatment starting with gentle cleanings and gum care.
“She was skeptical at first,” said Yadira. “In the past, dentists didn’t want to treat her for fear of bleeding. We gave her medication to help the bleeding and approached her care with caution. Little by little, her gums stopped bleeding.”
Gabriela also had untreated cavities. “Dr. Bozzetti told me that one of my teeth needed to be taken out.” After some searching, Dr. Bozzetti was able to find an oral surgeon who consulted with her on the procedure before she performed the extraction. The treatment was a success.
In the years that Gabriela has been coming to VG Dental for her oral health, she has never missed an appointment. “They are so accommodating in scheduling my appointments around my family,” said Gabriela. “The sliding fee scale means I can afford dental care for the first time.” All three of Gabriela’s children also come to VG Dental. “They like coming here. The dentists explain exactly what they are going to do. And they see that I am not nervous coming here so they aren’t afraid.”
Virginia Garcia’s dental services continue to expand. “This fall, we began providing oral health services to students at the new Willamina school-based health center and we’re looking ahead to opening a dental clinic in Beaverton,” said Dr. Bozzetti. “In each case, we’ve focused on the community’s needs so we can design our services around what works best in providing care.”
On her way out, Gabriela stops to chat with the receptionist. “I used to be embarrassed talking to people because of my teeth. And I didn’t like to smile. Now I do.”
Last year, Virginia Garcia’s Dental Program served 8,500 community members with vital dental care. Of those patients served, 6,200 were children with no other option for care.