I have been a dental hygienist for over 30 years . . . nearly 26 in Santa Fe in the same office. Over the years I have watched my beloved patient population age, and have always been concerned for the dental health and well-being of patients who find themselves in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or in homebound situations due to age, injury, or ill-health.
Throughout my career, I have volunteered my time to go to my “patients in need”, sometimes armed only with a few instruments, a toothbrush and floss, and a flashlight held by my husband, to help them with their oral care. I know it made the patients feel better and it made me feel great to give them a little dignity and care at a challenging time in their lives. But I wondered how many others were also in need of care.
I know how difficult it is for patients to navigate wheelchairs and walkers into the dental office, assisted by loved ones who had to take a day off work to get them there. Over time they just stop coming in for care. I also had the experience of caring for my grandmother and my mother-in-law while they were in care facilities, and I went nearly daily to take care of their oral hygiene home care needs.
I have experienced the need for elder dental hygiene care first hand. As I began to research and ask questions, it became evident that there is a huge problem of dental neglect in elderly populations. I felt compelled to do something about this problem. The idea for this business came out of a sincere concern and passion for those who can no longer receive the dental care they need.
As I continue to seek out opportunities to utilize my dental hygiene skills and knowledge in new and creative ways, I decided to start a mobile dental hygiene business, combined with a community service project of education and in-service training for the care-givers of the elderly and disabled, in order to help solve the problem of dental neglect in these populations.
We shall never know all the good that a single smile can do.
~ Mother Theresa