Tahoe clinic meets pediatric dental needs
Diamond Springs-based dentist Dr. Mitch Goodis tries to comfort Tahoe Vistas Martn Herrera, 3, as he grinds away on the boys two front teeth.Abre, abre la boca … Goodis sings in Spanish, encouraging the young boy to open his mouth wider.Herreras baby teeth have decayed down to the nerve and, following the administration of a strong concoction of sedatives, nitrous oxide and Novocain, Goodis works to remove the decay and fill the cavities.Someone like him, if he didnt get treatment he could end up in the hospital, says Portola-based dentist Dr. Rina Ambaram.Goodis, Ambaram and a crew of dental assistants visited the Placer County Community Clinic Saturday to provide special treatment for four North Tahoe children. These are kids who have extensive amount of work, or theyre very young or have behavioral problems … that the regular dentist cant work on, Goodis said at the weekend session.The Placer clinic had to recruit dentists from out of the county because there are no dentists in the area who perform sedation, said clinic supervisor Shannon Rosal, who helped organize the collaboration between Nevada and Placer counties and North Tahoe and Truckee family resource centers to bring the service to the low-income community.With the extensive work that needs to be done, if you can put them out then they dont remember it afterwards. Its less traumatizing for them, she said.Goodis and Ambaram had to attend extra schooling to qualify to give pediatric oral sedation. They both took the course at the UCLA dental school. Goodis made his first visit serving Placer County children in April. He saw just four kids then, but filled 27 teeth, pulled three and did 10 root canals, along with cleanings, fluoride and sealants, Rosal says.There are very few dentists who are willing to take any children because reimbursements … are so abysmally low, Goodis says.The bottom line is, most professionals are not interested in working all day without compensation, the dentists said during Saturdays clinic.But Goodis and Ambaram donated their Saturday to address the extensive dental-care needs of four children under the age of 5 in the Truckee-Tahoe region.This is an under-served population that were serving. Its hard to find providers, Ambaram said. Thats why general providers are stepping up.Goodis added: This is a cool thing to do. These are kids who really need this.
Oral care: a necessityMost of the disease is preventable, said Ambaram.The teeth of a number of children rot simply because they dont exercise proper oral hygiene. Mothers sometimes breast-feed their children all night, or parents give children bottles with juice or honey to suck on.Saturdays clinic was just the second that Placer County hosted for area youths who require sedation for dental work, but county staff is hopeful that the needs will continue to be met, even if dentists from out of the area must continue to generously donate their time and resources.Were hoping this can be an ongoing thing. We all have a vested interest in the kids, Rosal said.