The gratitude that these patients show really make it worthwhile. When you are in private practice you tend to forget that a large percentage of people don't see a dentist on a regular basis and there is real need.
San Antonio, TX (PRWEB) April 27, 2012
A team led by veteran San Antonio cosmetic dentist Edward Camacho joined in April’s Texas Mission of Mercy, providing free dental care to hundreds of needy local residents unable to afford vital oral health procedures.
The April 13-14 event, sponsored by the Texas Dental Association and St. Mary's University, featured more than 150 volunteer dentists and more than 300 dental assistants and dental hygienists, providing care to crowds that began lining up overnight at the university’s Greehey Arena. Dentists and their specialists performed tooth extractions, and did fillings and tooth-cleanings.
The Texas Mission of Mercy has provided care to about 25,000 patients in Texas since 2000, valued at more than $17 million, according to organizers.
"Some of these patients waited in line since the night before,” said Dr. Camacho, who brought a team of five from his Cosmetic Dentistry of San Antonio practice on Saturday, April 14. “About 10 minutes after they started accepting patients they were already at capacity and had to turn away about 500 people."
Dr. Camacho did mostly oral surgery and fillings. Most of the cases were for teeth that were badly infected and not salvageable.
Practice manager June Camacho said one of the team’s patients was a woman in her mid-20s, who is able to take her daughter to the dentist and get care for her. “But she could not afford care herself, so she was very grateful to get her work done that day,” she said.
The problem of dental care is so critical in the United States that the Surgeon General has called it the “Silent Epidemic,” which has major repercussions on health in general. More than a third of Americans – more than 130 million – have no dental insurance, leading to neglect or oral health.
Last autumn, the tragic death of 24-year-old Cincinnati father Kyle Willis, who died because he couldn’t afford treatment for an infected wisdom tooth, underlined the tough choices facing those who are unemployed or needy, without dental insurance or financial resources.
The Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging in February issued a report noting:
- More than 47 million people live in places where it is difficult to access dental care.
- About 17 million low-income children received no dental care in 2009.
- One-fourth of adults in the U.S. ages 65 and older have lost all of their teeth.
- Low-income adults are almost twice as likely as higher-income adults to have gone without a dental check up in the previous year.
- Bad dental health impacts overall health and increases the risk for diabetes, heart disease, and poor birth outcomes.
- There were over 830,000 visits to emergency rooms across the country for preventable dental conditions in 2009 - a 16% increase since 2006.
- Almost 60% of kids ages 5 to 17 have cavities - making tooth decay ﬁve times more common than asthma among children of this age.
On the local front, Dr. Camacho said he’s glad to make a difference: "The gratitude that these patients show really make it worthwhile. When you are in private practice you tend to forget that a large percentage of people don't see a dentist on a regular basis and there is real need."
And he says he is proud of the way local dental professionals are volunteering to help fill dental health care needs. "The amount of volunteers that showed up was amazing. I felt really proud of our dental community."
About Cosmetic Dentistry OF San Antonio
Cosmetic Dentistry of San Antonio is a full-service cosmetic dental practice, specializing in Invisalign clear braces, top-quality dental veneers, dental crowns, dental bridges, teeth whitening and traditional orthodontics, as well as a full line of restorative procedures and preventative care.
16535 Huebner (at Bitters) Suite 102
Valencia Village Shopping Center
San Antonio, Texas 78248