Free Dental Clinic
At St. Francis Mission, we have a vision of adequate dental health for all people on Rosebud Reservation. In 2013, we opened the St. Francis Mission Dental Clinic to give Lakota adults and children the dental care they have long needed. A recent American Dental Association study found that 90 percent of the Lakota people on Rosebud Reservation have chronic tooth decay or gum disease. This dental health crisis is the result of living in one of the poorest counties in the United States.
Volunteer dentists and assistants, some of them from Dental Schools at Creighton and Indiana Universities and the Universities of South Dakota, Nebraska and Missouri, University of Connecticut, are providing many services in the St. Francis Mission Dental Clinic. These services include dental exams, x-rays, fillings, cleanings, treatments, follow-up checkups, and education in preventive care.
About the Clinic
An American Dental Association study found that 90% of the Lakota people on the Rosebud Reservation have chronic tooth decay or gum disease. Annual statistics place our county among the five poorest in the entire United States. The local Indian Health Service has one dentist for over 10,000 people. When Dr. John Boarini, a 1955 graduate of Chicago’s Loyola School of Dentistry, saw the need he responded. He and his dentist sons solicited donations of equipment and supplies.
A license from the state was obtained and the St. Francis Mission Dental Clinic LLC was created with Dr. John Kharouf of Rapid City as its first “owner.” Current member owners are Drs. Monty Bechtold of Pierre, SD, Jason Aanenson of Freeman, SD, and Chad Carpenter of Rapid City, SD. The clinic opened in 2012.
Clinic director Marty Jones, a licensed dental hygienist, is assisted by an office manager and a dental assistant. Volunteers provide all the dental services: exams, x-rays, fillings, cleanings, treatments, follow-up checkups, and education in preventive care. Besides volunteer dentists, assistants, and hygienists from around the country, the clinic also partners with Dental Schools at Creighton and Indiana Universities, and the Universities of South Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri-Kansas City, and Connecticut.
WHAT PATIENTS SAY
God sent! I get to keep my teeth in order! I appreciate this clinic.
Great staff! Great equipment! Great experience!
Like angels that just happen to come into St. Francis and start the clinic here.
What's Happening at the Dental Clinic
Because we see a general population of patients, we are in need of volunteers from all of the dental fields. Dentists, Dental Hygienists and dental staff are encouraged to volunteer. If you are interested in volunteering your services please contact Marty Jones, RDH.
*If you are from another state you will need to apply for a temporary license to work in South Dakota. But please, first, let us know who you are and when you would like to come volunteer. Then, go to the South Dakota State Board of Dentistry website and complete the following steps:
Download the Temporary Volunteer License Application
Fill out and follow all of the steps on the form
Remember to let us know when you begin the process so that we can send you a letter verifying the dates of your service (Number 4 on the form)
IMPORTANT: Get your information submitted one month prior to your start date, so we have time to work out any issues.