Ostrow Dental Clinics

Ostrow Dental Clinics


We are at the Union Rescue Mission dental clinic, which is run by USC
Dental School. I oversee the operations of this clinic
but I’m also a faculty supervising our dental students who come here to help
this indigent and homeless population. We do all kinds of dental treatment
here including fillings and cleanings and extractions. We do root canal
treatment. But we also do replacement of teeth where we restore not only the
function of the mouth but also the aesthetics. We are a helping hand to the people who
have unfortunately fallen through the cracks and the only way you can help
them is to get not only their smile back and their function back, but their self-esteem back. My name is Frank Enriquez, I’m a pediatric dentist and I come here to volunteer. I get a big
reward doing this I enjoy working with the students. We’re actually helping some people that
can’t get dental help at other places. I think this is very important that you
can give back to the community. Our students are lucky because USC has
an array of clinics which treat every strata of population – every age from zero
years to geriatric patients, from people who live on the street to people who can
afford dentistry. This exposure brings out who they are; builds dental character
as well as personal character. I love to see what we do to patients
where they come in with no teeth and they have like the sad face to them and
at the end when we give them their dentures, they leave and smile, and they
actually have tears in their eyes and they tell us thank you for helping them out. One of the patients here – he was depressed, his family life was
broken down, he started drinking and drugs and literally fell off the face of earth.
That affected his self-esteem but also he lost a lot of teeth. We had to do a
few root canals, had to extract a few teeth but we gave him partial dentures to
replace the missing teeth and when we placed those veneers as a last
appointment, it completely changed his personality.
His slouch became a straight gait, his moping around the corridors became a
smile with the high five to everyone he met. On a personal level I feel most
connected here but even on the professional level I feel that I can…I made a difference in
someone’s life. That smile, that thank you, that gratitude from those
patients who can’t afford dental care, who don’t have access to dental care and
I’ve been able to make a difference – that smile is worth a lot more than a few
dollars which I might be able to get in a private office.

Author: Kevin Mason

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