Root canals, extractions, filling cavities and crowns were just some of the services provided to the less fortunate for free by San Bernardino dentist Dr. Vijay Patel and his staff of volunteers including local dentists, on Saturday, Oct. 6 in San Bernardino in an effort to give back to his community. He practices dentistry in San Bernardino, Colton, Claremont and Montclair, and began his charity work in honor of February Dental Health Month last year. Dr Patel has, along with other dentists and volunteers, provided free dental services to children for the last seven years. Dr. Patel continued his philanthropy by extending his free services to adults at his San Bernardino office, 322 N. “H” St.
“I was born in Kenya surrounded by poverty,” Dr. Patel said, becoming emotional as he spoke. “People need help in this country more than anywhere else, and we’re always donating to other countries. We need help here; charity should begin at home.”
Dr. Patel, who has practiced dentistry for 34 years and immigrated to the U.S. in 1989 from England, is passionate about providing free services to less fortunate children through these annual clinics. He expressed that too often he has witnessed children suffering in pain due to dental afflictions their parents cannot afford to take care of. “During such high unemployment like we’ve had over the last several years, a lot of parents can’t afford dental care for their children or for themselves,” he said. “Children have pain and infection, and parents can’t afford any care for them. It’s really, really sad.”
Dr. Patel noted that many people have lost their dental coverage due to the bad economy and are having to forgo dental care, which put them in danger of tooth decay and gum disease that contributes to problems associated with diabetes, liver and heart problems.
“A total of about 190 patients showed up during our free dental treatment day and we were able to treat 113 of them with various procedures ranging from dental fillings to extractions,” said Dr. Patel. “However we had another 80-90 patients that were still outside at 6pm. We decided to create another event to see them, and we are going to do another Free Dental Day on Nov 3rd.
This was Dr. Patel’s second free dental day within 2 months. On Saturday September 8th, he was able to treat 60 patients for free at his Claremont dental office.
And he is not stopping here for helping his community. He is leading an anti tooth-decay movement by giving away dollars in exchange for candy. From November 1st until November 9th, when children bring in Halloween candy, San Bernardino dentist Dr. Patel will give trick-or-treaters $1 per pound of candy donated.
Global sugar consumption for kids increase by about 2% annually and currently sits at 50 million tons per year, which means parents need to be sure their kids’ teeth are being cared for more than ever.
“I wanted to do my part as a dentist to help and hope other healthcare professionals would join us in a similar effort in the future.”
Information about the Free Dental Day on Nov. 3rd and the Halloween candy buy-back event can be found online at www.Dentist-SanBernardinoCA.com .
Copyright 2012 The Colton Courier
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