Local citizens receive free dental care


By Mary O. Esparza, - mesparza@civitasmedia.com



Local Operation Care volunteers Sandy Smalts and Mary Valdez greeted the scheduled patients for the Mobile Smiles Oklahoma free dental services.


Local dental hygienist and volunteer Jean Whetstone with patient Michelle Clay. Whetstone’s help allowed Operation Care and Mobile Smiles Oklahoma to assist more patients.


Operation Care, a local non-profit organization that works to help people in a variety of life situations, has worked with Mobile Smiles Oklahoma to bring free dental care to Altus. The RV-style mobile dental unit was in Altus on Monday offering free dental care and education to those in need.

Operation Care Director Angela Ybarra said that there were initially only six people scheduled for services, but because of local dental hygienist Jean Whetstone volunteering, 12 people were helped. “We are very grateful to her,” said Ybarra.

Ybarra had applied for and received a grant to help underwrite half of the “$600 community investment fee” per unit per day of service for the dental service.

Mobile Smiles Oklahoma is a partnership program of two 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organizations: the Oklahoma Dental Foundation and the Delta Dental of Oklahoma Oral Health Foundation. The program eliminates financial, geographical and situational barriers to dental care access. When they visit a community they work with a non-profit organization such as a school, church or agency that is responsible for qualifying and scheduling the patients. Since they began in 2006 they have served over 11,000 patients and delivered more than $2 million worth of donated dental services.

Altus is on a waiting list for Mobile Smiles dental services to return again this year (in the case of a cancellation of another town). Ybarra said the 2017 scheduled services have already been set for the months of April and August.

Operation Care had 75 people apply for the free dental services, and applications were chosen by those most in need. Services performed were dental fillings, extractions and teeth cleaning. The Tamarack Church of Christ lent their parking lot to help provide adequate space for the mobile unit.

For more information on Operation Care and the many services they provide , visit www.facebookpk.com/opcarealtus, or visit the office on a walk-in basis Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 to 11 a.m., or call 580-318-2490.

Local Operation Care volunteers Sandy Smalts and Mary Valdez greeted the scheduled patients for the Mobile Smiles Oklahoma free dental services.
http://altustimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/web1_DentalVan.jpgLocal Operation Care volunteers Sandy Smalts and Mary Valdez greeted the scheduled patients for the Mobile Smiles Oklahoma free dental services.

Local dental hygienist and volunteer Jean Whetstone with patient Michelle Clay. Whetstone’s help allowed Operation Care and Mobile Smiles Oklahoma to assist more patients.
http://altustimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/web1_DentalWork.jpgLocal dental hygienist and volunteer Jean Whetstone with patient Michelle Clay. Whetstone’s help allowed Operation Care and Mobile Smiles Oklahoma to assist more patients.

By Mary O. Esparza,

mesparza@civitasmedia.com

Reach Mary O. Esparza at 580-482-1221, ext. 2077

Reach Mary O. Esparza at 580-482-1221, ext. 2077

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