A new dental clinic designed and built to meet the special needs of people with disabilities will open on Monday, August 29, at St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care-Bucyrus Campus, 2450 W. North Avenue.
The Gardetto Family Community Dental Clinic will specifically serve children and adults with physical or cognitive disabilities that prevent them from being treated in standard private practice or community clinics. Patients must be Wisconsin residents and will need a referral from a dentist or medical doctor. All forms of Medicaid will be accepted. This was all a dream four years ago by a fairly new dentist in Franklin, he had a plan but he needed to get the state behind it and also find donors who really knew the importance of having a clinic that could accommodate adults and children with disabilities. The rest is is history.
“The mother of one of our patients has been taking her daughter to Minnesota to see a dentist.” said Laura Cherek, director of dental services at St. Ann Center. “There are very few clinics in Wisconsin that can provide the one-on-one attention people with disabilities need,” she added. “We hope to create a dental home where staff can maintain consistent care for patients from early childhood through their elderly years,”
Russell Dunkel DDS, the Center’s dental director, and Lakisha Arif-Holmes DDS offer exams, teeth cleaning, fluoride treatments, sealants, all forms of X-rays, restorative work including fillings and crowns, extractions, and root canals and dentures as needed. The three-chair clinic’s operatory is large enough to accommodate patients using wheelchairs and scooters.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, 2010 Burden of Oral Disease in the State of Wisconsin, individuals with disabilities have “significantly higher rates of poor oral hygiene and need for periodontal disease treatment than the general public.” Research also links poor oral health with increased risks for systemic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and aspiration associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD).
The dental clinic adds to St. Ann Center’s commitment to providing comprehensive health care to the community. Donors for construction of the dental clinic include the Gardetto family, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Delta Dental and the Ziemann Foundation.