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Fish for Teeth brings ‘Toothmobile’ to Lopez

A recent
A recent 'Toothmobile' visit on Orcas Island.
— image credit: Cali Bagby/ Staff photo

Fish for Teeth, and the local dentists, commercial fishermen, and enthusiastic community members that comprise its ranks, are on a roll. In January the group brought the “ToothMobile,” a fully equipped 40-foot mobile dental van, to Friday Harbor. Local dental professionals put in 51 volunteer hours, performing nearly $13,000 worth of dental treatments, on 28 individuals.

“This was one of the most successful clinics I’ve been a part of,” said Ellen Broyles, the van’s driver and Mobile Dental Clinic Manager. “I love serving a population that truly needs the dental care that we can provide; people that may not be able to receive dental care any other way.”

Fish for Teeth is coming to Lopez, April 13 and 14, at the Lopez Center for Community and the Arts’ parking lot, next to the Lopez Island Family Resource Center. Celia Marquis and Mikah Smith, of the LIFRC, are handling much of the leg work.  Rachel Macsla, an Americore volunteer working with the LIFRC, is fluent in Spanish, and acting as the interpreter. Mo Pomietto, the School Nurse on Lopez, is also part of the Lopez effort to make this happen. The San Juan County Oral Health Coalition, including Terri MacNichol and Kathy Hagn, have also worked to make this happen.

The van is owned and operated by Medical Teams International, a faith-based organization based out of Redmond, Wash. It comes fully stocked with material to cover any dental procedure that a regular dental office can perform.

“Consider it a dental office on wheels,” said Broyles, whose job is to make the volunteer dental team feel comfortable with their “office” setting, and look after the patients needs, as well.

No dental work can be accomplished without dentists, and is being covered this time entirely by the staff of Bayview Dental.

The clinic coordinators, who give a brief health-screening to the patients, among many other tasks, are Terri MacNichol, and Margaret Johnson.  Housing for the van’s driver will compliments of the Lopez Lodge, with some assistance from the LIFRC.

The ToothMobile costs $1,600 to bring to the islands. This cost is being covered by Fish for Teeth, which gets its funding directly from individual donations, and fundraising like selling fish tacos. This time the group will be selling frozen rockfish fillets for $10 per pound.

For more info, visit www.fishforteeth.com.

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