Widely known for their turkey dinners, a lot of people aren’t aware of the clinics and other services St. Vincent de Paul offers to the underprivileged.
St. Vincent de Paul has over 10,000 visits a year between their dental and medical clinics. In addition to offering dental and medical services to those that can’t afford it, they have nutritional classes to help with family wellness as a whole, homeless outreach, and help for individuals in crises situations.
The dental clinic in particular has grown from its inception in 1993 from having 10-15 visits a month to having well over 500 visits a month. They work in tandem with their medical services and are able to treat the individual as a whole and not just one specific area.
One of St. Vincent’s goals is to start an emergency clinic. With an emergency clinic, they can actually do treatment and extractions of infected teeth so they don’t have to send people to emergency rooms. Since their resources are limited, they currently have a lottery system where they choose from a pool of applications for free services. They get over 3,000 applications a month and choose from 16-20 from that pool for treatment.
When speaking with Nellie Barreras who’s been working with St. Vincent for 16 years, she says the problem with this system is that those they can’t treat everyone that comes to them who have real issues. These individuals without insurance and the means to pay for dental services end up having to go to the emergency room where they receive antibiotics and pain killers that help in the immediate, but doesn’t actually solve the problem. They are all excited about getting this new emergency clinic off the ground, and should hopefully be seeing that kicked off soon.
Nellie shared one particular story that exemplifies the work that St. Vincent does so well, “One particular lady and her kids were patients were ours. She applied to the dental lottery and got chosen. She had never been to a dental clinic before and went to the dental hygiene area where they saw she had a lot of build up. One of the hygienists said they had to get her in to a cleaning to just see her teeth, then had 4 visits for deep cleanings. She said before her husband didn’t want to get close to her because her teeth were so bad, but that he could kiss her now because her mouth was clean. It sounds strange, but that’s how much a cleaning can impact a whole family.”
The condition of someone’s teeth has so many ripple effects on a person and their family. Not only affecting self-esteem, the state of the mouth helps determine getting selected for a job as well as effect an individual’s overall health.
One way to help St. Vincent de Paul’s efforts to help influence our community for the better is to partner with them through RootsCause. Through your own purchase of toothbrushes, you can send them the same amount when you have the opportunity to select a charity to donate to at checkout. RootsCause’s one for one model is ideal for dentists wanting a quality toothbrush for their office while simultaneously being able to support a good cause.
To learn more about St. Vincent de Paul, feel free to check out their website.