Of the 30 patients scheduled 27 showed up. We did 16 cleanings, 1 extraction, 75 sealants, 25 fillings and numerous x-rays. We were able to complete all treatment on the children that showed up to be treated in our office.
We were lucky enough to have a State Representative show up. I think the most important points of the day came from our visit with this State Representative who really cared. She asked how can 10% of those people scheduled for free dental care (and the patients that didn't show up needed fillings to get healthy). I didn't have an answer for that one because it continues to amaze me. When I was on our state Title 19 program there were three things that really hindered my participation. They paid only about 35 cents on the dollar (and expenses are closer to 70 cents on the dollar), there was a 40% no show rate (this is for free care!!!!!) and the tremendous amount of paperwork. It's a broken system set up by the government but they want us to figure out how to make it work.
The second question that was asked that was pertinent was how could so many young people have this much decay and other problems such as gum issues. That one I was able to answer a little better. Part of the answer is mentioned above, they can't get treatment in a broken system. The other part of the answer is education. These children need to be educated by their parents and the schools and hopefully when they visit the dentist as to proper home hygiene and the perils of junk food and junk drinks like soda and other sugared drinks.
We had one young man come in carrying a bag that contained 2 Mountain Dews, 2 fruit roll ups and a bag of licorice. We asked him why he was carrying it. He said that was his lunch! We went out and talked to mom and she said "oh, that's not good for him". Hopefully the 7 fillings we place and 5 sealants we placed will help somewhat. We went over home hygiene with him as well as the perils of junk food and drinks but unless that education takes place in the home and schools as well we were just wasting our breath.
Everyone on my team was great. We learned some great lessons. It's important to give back because we are lucky and in a position to do so. The "Why" is because the governmental system that those less fortunate rely on is broken beyond belief and at the same time the home unit and school unit need to spend more time educating and watching what these children are doing!
Yours in better dental health,