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CELEBRATING 40 YEARS • QUALITY HEALTHCARE • ACCESS for ALL OPEN DOOR Community Health Centers THERE IS NO TOOTH FAIRY Carter Wright, DDS ODCHC Dental Director A few weeks ago I had the honor of cutting the ribbon on a brand-new dental van to be used for children in Del Norte County. That was a great day. More access, more service, more healthy kids. I was really excited and relieved that we were doing the right thing. The next day, "Jake" came to the Burre Dental Center in Eureka. He is a young man of 15. He had never been to a dentist before. He was scared, angry and embarrassed, but he was in pain. Jake’s dental disease was so severe that I could only recommend dentures – dentures for a teenager. Jake faces a future of health problems, oral and otherwise. Dentures are not a good solution, even when they are the only solution. Jake hadn’t learned how important or how easy basic oral hygiene can be. Unfortunately, Jake’s situation is not rare. I see young people with severe dental decay and disease almost every day. Most of the continued on page 8 ➤ OPEN DOOR DENTAL Congressman Mike Thompson with the children of Smith River Elementary School celebrate the new dental van by showing their teeth to the camera. SMILES IN THE SCHOOLS n October 2nd Open Door “cut the ribbon” on its newest service, a sparkling mobile dental van fresh from the factory. This van, and a newly hired staff, will serve children in Del Norte County exclusively. This new van was funded by The California Endowment as part of its Building Healthy Communities: Del Norte County and Adjacent Tribal Lands initiative. The van will visit schools throughout Del Norte County, providing comprehensive dental screening and treatment for children. According to Barbara Davis, Dental Sites Administrator and Mobile Dental Service Coordinator, “We can do almost everything on the van that we can do in the clinic. We schedule several schools to visit during the school year. In this, our first year, we’re starting at Smith River School. We’ll stay there until all of the children who need dental care, and have parental consent, are screened and treated. We won’t leave until all of the kids are taken care of. Then we move on to the next school and do the same thing. This means we may only get to 3 or 4 schools during a year.” States Laura Olson, Program Manager for The California Endowment Building Healthy Communities initiative, “At the ribbon cutting, someone came up to me and said, ‘So this is really ours?’ referring to O continued on next page ➤ OPEN DOOR COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERS SPECIAL SECTION • THURSDAY, OCT. 27, 2011 1

Open Door Community Health Centers

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