Monterey Bay Dental Hygienists' Association

                    Dientes’ Give Seniors A Smile Day Makes a Difference

(Santa Cruz, CA) October 15th marked a day of smiles for many underserved seniors in our community. Dientes Community Dental Care celebrated Give Seniors A Smile Day by partnering with 7 volunteer hygienists from the Monterey Bay Dental Hygienists’ Association to provide 34 low income, uninsured seniors with free dental care. The value of services delivered for free totaled over $19,000 and included oral health exams, cleanings, extractions and restorative care. Dientes also partnered with Santa Cruz Community Health Centers to assess Medi-Cal eligibility on-site and Grey Bears in order to identify seniors most in need.

Seniors on Medicare have no dental benefits except for extreme situations. This means seniors living in Santa Cruz County have limited options for treating cavities or receiving root canals or denture services.

Patient Yvonne McDowell lives on a fixed income in a local senior community. Though she describes her overall oral health as good, she still wouldn’t have been able to afford the few procedures she needed without Dientes. "I am very grateful for their services. Other people in my community aren’t as lucky—they need a lot of work, but I refer as many people I can to Dientes."

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 5 American seniors no longer have any teeth. Dientes Dental Director Dr. Sepi Walthard explains, “Even though seniors are largely without dental insurance, our senior patients are often in need of the most care due to their aging teeth and inconsistent oral health care. This day helps address this need and encourages volunteerism.”
Leslie Eggleston, RDHBS, of the Monterey Bay Dental Hygienists’ Association comments, “Our volunteer hygienists want to help provide a better quality of life for our community’s seniors and Give Seniors A Smile Day is a great way to get involved.”
Dientes is a nonprofit dental clinic that will provides care for nearly 10,000 patients in over 32,000 visits this year at two clinics and 35 outreach locations throughout the county. Give Seniors A Smile Day was held in the main Santa Cruz clinic. Dientes has recently expanded access to care for homeless seniors, adults and children by providing services at a 1-chair Outreach clinic at the Homeless Services Center.

Brenda Rodriguez, Patricia Anderson, Marisela Galvan, and Leslie Eggleston of the Monterey Bay Dental Hygienists’ Association and Dr. Sepi Walthard of Dientes provided care during Give Seniors A Smile Day on October 15, 2016.