Offering free dental care for local residents without dental insurance, St. Vincent de Paul of Contra Costa County (SVdP) has partnered with Dentists on Wheels (DOW) to open its Dentist on Wheels Pittsburg Free Dental Clinic. The free dental clinic will be able to treat most patients’ needs — from screenings, cleaning, and checkups, to fillings, crowns, extractions, and dentures. All dental equipment and furnishings have been donated to the 3-chair clinic, which will be staffed by volunteer dentists.
The Need for Dental Care Access
Many neighbors in need lack dental insurance, and access to dental care is normally out of reach for uninsured, low-income residents. Tooth pain and other dental issues can cause a massive drop in quality of life for those suffering.
Tooth extraction is an inexpensive means of addressing dental pain, but it can create many long-term issues that profoundly impact a patient’s quality of life. By providing accessible preventative care and restorative procedures, the free dental clinic will lessen the number of extractions happening in Contra Costa County and keep the county smiling.
For many years, SVdP of Contra Costa has partnered with La Clinica Dental and LifeLong Dental Clinic to provide free dental services to people in need. The program began when a trainee in SVdP’s Workforce Development Program found that he had a hard time securing employment because he was missing several teeth. By underwriting the cost of his dental care and replacement teeth, SVdP successfully helped him obtain a job and become self-sufficient.
With that, SVdP’s Dental Program was born, with SVdP underwriting the cost of treatment and referring patients to La Clinica and Lifelong Dental.
Dentists on Wheels
Dentists on Wheels was founded by Shab Farzaneh, who learned that many low-income people without dental insurance have teeth pulled when they experience pain or decay. Extractions have many negative impacts, including the loss of enjoyment of food, limited job opportunities, and even changing a person’s facial structure. She was determined to provide a better solution, and began to mobilize a team of volunteer dentists, including Dr. Neda Oromchiam, Retired Dentist and DOW Dental Director.
DOW partnered with SVdP because of the Society’s long history of serving the most vulnerable. The 3-chair clinic is located at the SVdP Family Resource Center in Pittsburg, CA. Additional resources at the SVdP Family Resource Center include a free dining room, free medical clinic, free food pantry, daytime homeless shelter, employment & training program, clothing & furniture and other services.
The clinic is also sponsored by The California Wellness Foundation, John Muir Health, Refera, Fremont Bank, Digital DOC, Optum, Q-Optics, Shoreview Dental, The Patterson Foundation, Dr. Amanda Backstrom, NSK Dental Instruments, XDR Radiology, as well as many dental specialists and private donors.