Federal money will add dental services in the East Falls neighborhood
The Obama administration just announced a new round of stimulus dollars for community health clinics. Esperanza Health Center in North Philadelphia is adding obstetrics and prenatal care. Clinics in Chester and Coatesville will use their money to convert paper files to electronic medical records. (Photo: Flickr/atduskgreg)
In Philadelphia’s East Falls neighborhood, the Family Practice and Counseling Center will create a dental clinic. Dental director Frank Torrisi says the center serves many people from the Abbottsford public housing complex. The area is short on dentists and Torrisi say many children don’t get a regular cleaning before they start school.
Torrisi: A lot of these children do develop early childhood caries, which is a pretty aggressive form of decay related to sleeping with the nursing bottle or juice. So by the time they are three or four, they oftentimes need to be put in hospital to to have this treatment done because it is quite extensive and they are quite young.
The center will partner with Temple University’s School of Dentistry to hire a pediatric specialist. Amid Ismail is dean of the school.
Ismail: So the pediatric dentist will be involved in ‘A’ direct care but ‘B’ also in working with training the staff and the dentists in the community health center, in terms of how to deal with the problem before it reaches the level of advanced disease.
Torrisi says the $450,000 renovation will create a clinic with seven dental chairs and serve more than 2,000 people each year.
Torrisi: We are located fairly close to public housing, that’s part of our mission, to be in areas of public housing. We are looking forward to offering them oral health services under the same roof. You know they can come in if they are having dental problems, if they have a toothache or if they need just regular upkeep.