The University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine provides dental care to patients as part of their educational program. Dental work meets, or exceeds all professional standards, although it may take more time than the same service in a practicing dentist's office.
They do provide free cleanings and checkups for children, although it seems to be at specific times of the year. According to their web site (www.dental.pitt.edu):
"The clinic is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, throughout the school year, excluding university holidays and designated holidays breaks.
The SDM accepts patients with dental needs that are considered appropriate for teaching techniques of dentistry regardless of race, religion, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnic or national origin.
Appointments may be scheduled by phone at (412) 648-8616,.Pediatric patients (all children and adolescents less than 18 years of age) should call the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at (412) 648-8930. Patients with special needs should call the Center for Patients with Special Needs at (412) 648- 3039."
I would suggest using the SAM Van (814-443-6354), which is operated by Somerset Area Ministries to get to Pittsburgh if transportation is an issue. The SAM Van takes daily trips to Pittsburgh, transporting people for medical appointments, to visit family members in the hospital, etc. There is no charge for the SAM Van, which operates with volunteer drivers, however, donations are welcome.
Finally, the Salvation Army Dental Center, located in Oil City provides a comprehensive range of dental services free of charge designed to "promote a lifetime of good oral health." Unfortunately, transportation could be an issue, however, once you get to Oil City, dental care is absolutely free. There's also a lot of great info on proper oral hygiene on their web site. Here's the contact info:
The Salvation Army, Oil City Dental Center, 217 Sycamore St., Oil City, PA 16301, phone: 814-670-0374, fax: 814-670-0376, www.salvationarmy-wpa.org
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(Rob Stemple is Community Outreach and Rehabilitation Liaison for Somerset County Blind Center (SCBC); a Division of the Susquehanna Association for the Blind and Vision Impaired (SABVI). Rob would like to recognize SCBC client Richard Roth, a massage therapist in Davidsville who was featured as last week's personality of the week. If you'd like to try Rick's services, call him at 814-254-6185! Rick's a great example that a disability isn't necessarily a barrier to employment and independence!)