When you want to keep your teeth clean and healthy, the dental clinic in rural California may have to step in

Posted January 01, 2020 15:25:32When you’re looking to get your teeth cleaned and kept looking fresh and healthy at the same time, the community health clinic at the center of the state’s ongoing water crisis may have an answer: the dental program at Lourdes Oral Health, in Alpine, California. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, the program has more than 2,000 dental staff, and the state has been overwhelmed with requests for services from people who live in remote areas. 

To date, the state and its partners have received nearly 1,000 requests for dental care.

Lourdeys staff has been working to fill the gap, with dental students and dental assistants assisting with filling requests, according to the Times. 

When asked about the program’s success, Lourdans CEO Julie Lourdan said the program had “a long way to go” before it could be called a success.

“Our program has not been without challenges,” she told the Times, adding that the hospital was “trying to accommodate as many people as possible” when it was full. 

But Lourdin’s comments do seem to be backed up by some of the programs dental students, dentists, and dental therapists who work in the program. 

“It’s really great to see so many of our students and their families in Lourds dental program,” said Lisa Avila, who graduated from Lourdalas dental program last summer.

“It was really nice to have them be able to come out to the clinic, and it was really helpful for me, because I was in my office and I didn’t want to go to a dentist for two days straight.” 

“I think it was a really important thing for us to bring people out to see us,” said another dental student, who asked to remain anonymous.

“Because we need people, and we’re working with the local community, we’re not really having the time to do that right now.

But it’s really important.”

The dental clinic, which started operating in January, offers free oral exams and dental cleaning services to residents in rural areas and other remote areas who don’t have access to other dental programs.

The program is also known for its community outreach and support for community health. 

One of the program staff, Dr. Lueck Schoenberg, said the community’s dental needs have always been a big part of Lourda’s program.

“Dental care is the healthiest part of life,” Schoenburg said.

“If we’re in a place where we don’t know any other option, that’s a huge opportunity.”

“Dentists have a very unique ability to be part of a community, and that’s the same for the general population,” said Lourdad’s dental assistant, who added that the program offers a variety of services including preventive dentistry and a range of cleaning and hygiene services. 

Dr. David Loeffler, an assistant professor of clinical dentistry at New York University School of Dentistry and co-author of The Dental Clinic: The Promise and the Promise-Oral Health, said it was clear that Lourdias dental clinic was working to be a place that residents could feel comfortable going to if they needed help. 

Loefflerts program is unique in that the staff is not a dentist or dental assistant but a nurse, said Loeffe, who said it provides “an environment where they can actually make dental appointments without having to go through the whole office. 

For people who are not dental students or dental therapists, it’s very easy to learn how to get the service they need.” 

For now, Luefflietts dental clinic is focused on providing oral care to residents who are already well enough to attend school, but the program is open to anyone who needs oral care and can show proof of income.

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