Dental care is an essential part of a person's physical and emotional health, but as is the case with many low-income communities, the Rosebud Reservation faces many oral health issues and a severe lack of access to dental care. A recent American Dental Association study found that 90 percent of the Lakota people on the Rosebud have chronic tooth decay or gum disease.
Children are the most underserved when it comes to dental care. The St. Francis Dental Clinic was built in response to this need. Your gift today will help support the preventative and restorative dental care for all patients seen in our clinic.
Sitting Down with Marty Jones, Director of St. Francis Dental Clinic
A firm believer that good dental health facilitates good emotional and mental health, Marty works countless hours to make sure that we can provide the essential dental care this community needs. According to Marty, while Indian Health Services is an option for children living at Rosebud, we are able to provide "conscious sedation" which helps children and families feel more confident with receiving dental care.
Marty expressed her gratefulness to be able to provide this service to the community and has seen a huge impact. "Five years ago, an eleven year-old boy came to the clinic. He didn't want to go to school because other kids teased him about his bad teeth. We were able to dramatically improve his appearance. You can just see how his personality changed. He is so much more outgoing."
Marty also told me that many people living on the Rosebud Reservation think that losing teeth is just part of aging. At our Clinic, however, "we focus on saving the tooth and not pulling it." For those who have already lost their teeth, we have been providing dentures since 2016. I met one recipient at the post office and he thanked me, saying, "Now I can chew my meat and eat whatever I want." As we move into a busy spring and summer of hosting volunteer dentists from across the country we are reminded of the incredible work we are able to do with your support. Thank you to all our volunteer dentists, hygienists, students and benefactors.