The SCC Dental Hygiene Clinic provides a service to community members that cannot be overlooked. Going to the dentist for routine procedures such as exams, x-rays, cleaning and minor fillings is unattainable for many of our neighbors, and our clinic has provided these services for modest fees for over 40 years.
The program is a work of genius. Students get hands-on training while helping people who cannot afford dental insurance. The clinic provides these services to patients from age four and up to seniors.
Recently, the DH Program moved into another community, partnering with the King County Dental Society, Seattle Care Dentistry and The Northwest Kidney Centers to provide treatment for patients who are on kidney dialysis.
“They have to have a healthy mouth in order to be placed on a transplant list,” says Dental Hygiene Director Marianne Baker, “and we’re here to help them achieve that.”
Getting a healthy mouth is a real challenge for people on dialysis, Baker says, explaining that the procedure requires four hours a day several times a week, making it very difficult to find a fulltime job that provides health insurance. “These people rely on medical coupons,” Baker says, ‘and most dental offices don’t accept the coupons because DSHS reimburse so little. It’s tragic.”
Now, thanks to the partnerships, these patients have found hope. One patient they have helped has now been approved for a transplant. Baker says they are currently seeing several kidney dialysis patients.
The program has also just begun a partnership with 7028 Life Enhancement Charitable Trust to provide dental hygiene treatment to for patients who qualify for their trust.
Baker says that in the 34 years she has been at Shoreline, this is the first time the clinic is doing this kind of partnership.
“What a way to go out,” Baker said, who is retiring in August.
SCC DH Program hosts regional educators conference
To go hand-in-hand with the theme of helping others, the DH Program will feature Dr. Britt Yamamoto at the Northwest Dental Hygiene Educators Conference on campus, Friday, April 9 and Saturday, April 10, 2010. Faculty from all nine dental hygiene schools and programs across Washington State will attend, including some from Portland, Ore. Yamamoto will talk about service learning and the Dental Hygiene education arena, discussing the opportunities and challenges for integrated learning. SCC Service Learning Coordinator Kaelyn Caldwell will present about the Americorps VISTA Program as will a number of other dental professionals who will share latest research findings and opportunities.