For many of the young people we serve, unaddressed dental health issues have left them struggling for months and months with pain. And for most youth experiencing homelessness, access to dental care is out of reach. That’s why we are so are grateful to Medical Teams International (MTI) and the Ray Hickey Foundation – just last week, MTI drove one of their eleven Mobile Dental Vans to our Drop-In Day Service Center and put it in park to serve our youth. And thanks to the support of the Ray Hickey Foundation, they will be providing additional mobile clinics for New Avenues in the coming months
At this inaugural clinic, volunteer dentist Dr. Scott Strong, along with his assistant Terri Erickson, treated five youth and performed six cavity fillings and two emergency extractions. One of the young patients who received an extraction hadn’t seen a dentist in more than three years and, although they were in a lot of pain, felt a little uneasy about receiving treatment. But they left the dental van full of praise for the “kind, gentle and patient” volunteers and were soon feeling pain free!
Additional mobile dental clinics are being scheduled in the coming months at our downtown location as well as our new East County location. These clinics will not only provide care for more youth but give them the opportunity to have regular check-ups so that past extractions and cavities can be monitored. We’re so grateful to MTI and the Ray Hickey Foundation for caring about the health of young people – thanks for bringing back our smiles!