Health experts recommend visiting the dentist every 6 months. But for many, that is too expensive, even with insurance. Two area colleges provide dental hygiene clinics where people get dental service at a lower cost, and help local college students train.
They've got the chairs, they''ve got the tools and they've got the knowledge -- While IU South Bend's Dental Hygiene Clinic looks like a dental office, it is still a school.
"The people are real nice over here," says Edwin Garcia, "and also they are not so expensive."
When Garcia retired he lost his health insurance benefits, so finding the money to visit the dentist was the last thing on his mind. But, keeping his teeth nice is still a priority.
"Even when I die I want to keep some of my teeth," says Garcia.
So Garcia goes to the IU South Bend Dental Hygiene Clinic. The clinic has been around for 40 years -- providing low cost dental care for people in the area and a hands on education for students. 30 students per semester work in the clinic, serving about 2000 patients every year.
"Because it is a community outreach type of clinic, we are seeing patients who may have never received dental care in a long time -- maybe are afraid to see a dentist and they come here and they can feel comfortable," says Kristyn Quimby the IUSB Dental Hygiene Program Director.
That makes for good practice for the college students who are working to earn their degree in dental hygiene. The students interact with patients and teach them about prevention and care.
"I get to get a great education," says Ashleigh Lehman, a student, "this program is an awesome program and in that experience I am helping the people in my community and providing that inexpensive dental care."
Patients get a full examination, including a head and neck exam, x-rays and a periodontal exam. And it is really inexpensive: $15 for kids and seniors and $30 for everyone else. And for that reason, Edwin Garcia won't have to worry about his teeth or his pocket book.
Ivy tech has a similar program.
If you would like to make an appointment at either clinic, call early. The semesters fill up fast.
IU South Bend:
The clinic is open September through June but closed during all IU South Bend semester breaks.
Appointments are required.
1960 Northside Blvd.
South Bend, IN 46615
Fees range from $2 to $20 per service and some services are free of charge.
Clinic hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 1:00-5:00 pm and Friday, 8:00 am - noon.
The Dental Hygiene clinic is located in room 1380 in the Technology wing on Ivy Tech's South Bend campus, 220 Dean Johnson Blvd. Appointments are encouraged and can be made by calling 574-289-7001, ext. 6800.
Beyond the Campus: A deal on dental care thanks to area colleges
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