SIOUX CENTER, IOWA – Leonardo Gabriel Márquez says many patients are surprised when they find out how the dental program works at Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center.
|Dental assistant/interpreter Leonardo Gabriel Márquez of Promise Community Health Center says patients are surprised how affordable and accessible Promise makes dental care for them.|
The dental assistant/interpreter said they are happy to find out that Promise greatly discounts the cost of dental appointments – to as as low as $40 – depending on their household income and size if they have no insurance. They also discover that Promise accepts Medicaid patients – one of the few dental clinics in the area to do so.
Therefore, Marquez said Promise’s dental team educates patients that dental care is an affordable option for them. In fact, if they receive preventative care, they likely will save a lot of money in the long term.
“Prevention is the key,” he said. “We are trying to switch the mindset in how they think about how dental care works.”
Marquez, who is an immigrant from Mexico, said Spanish-speaking patients are happy to find out that an interpreter is readily available to assist them in their own language with dental appointments at Promise.
He noted that many people from Mexico or Central American countries don’t come from cultures with as good of access to dental care and do not value preventative care as highly. As a result, many have problems in their mouth.
Therefore, the dental team emphasizes the importance of regular checkups. In particular, patients are reminded that Medicaid covers two checkups per year at no cost to them, so they should use those for their benefit. Patients also are encouraged to brush and floss their teeth twice a day, and parents are encouraged teach their children these tasks.
Taking those steps can help fight against cavities and gum disease, he said.
“It’s important for them to find out the proper way for them to take care of their mouth,” Marquez said. “It’s important to go to the dentist twice a year. If there is a cavity, it will be super small and super easy to fix. It’s especially important for the kids because they will learn that going to the dentist is important. It starts with the parents. We need them to encourage their kids.”
Promise Community Health Center of Sioux Center is the only Federally Qualified Health Center serving the far northwest corner of Iowa. Promise provides medical, prenatal, dental, vision and behavioral health services. To learn more, visit www.promisechc.org and watch this video.
LEO’S DENTAL TIPS:
February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, so Leo Gabriel Marquez offers these simple “Rule of 2’s” dental tips to teach your children how to care for their mouths to keep them healthy:
- Brush 2 times a day;
- Brush for 2 minutes.
- Visit your dentist 2 times a year.
For a Spanish version of the story, click here.