Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Poor State of Our Teeth We Need to Make Sure Everyone Has Good Dental Care

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Poor State of Our Teeth We Need to Make Sure Everyone Has Good Dental Care

Article excerpt

A recent patient of mine was a gentleman in his early sixties. He may have avoided the dentist's chair for more than 20 years, but what finally brought him in was the desire to flash a big, bright smile at his daughter's upcoming wedding this summer.

Unfortunately, his years away from the dentist showed: His teeth were damaged and marred by decay.

A newlywed myself, I can't imagine being unable to freely enjoy the wedding of a loved one because of the condition of my teeth. So I'm glad this man came into the office on a weekend when we were providing free dental care to underserved residents in our area as part of a community program called the Healthy Mouth Movement.

My patient needed extensive dental work - we would ultimately have to remove more than half his teeth - far more than we could do on this single day of service. So we ended up scheduling him during regular hours the following week and performed the work free of charge. We then fit this proud father of the bride with dentures, so he'd be ready to walk his daughter down the aisle.

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Not every dental exam leads to such a nice conclusion, but during my 25 years practicing dentistry, both in private practice and during my younger days serving in the Army, I've always made it a priority to help those who would otherwise lack access.

One thing about being a dentist in the military is that you see many patients who have not been getting regular dental care, both soldiers and civilian government employees.

While I practice in the North Hills and Robinson, the Healthy Mouth Movement enabled me to spend a day working in a different part of the Pittsburgh region, helping the East End Cooperative Ministry serve residents of East Liberty. Many of the patients we saw lacked not only the money or insurance to pay for dental work, but also the transportation just to get to a dentist. …

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