Fish for Teeth brings free mobile dental clinic to Friday Harbor

  • Sun Jan 14th, 2018 7:00am
  • Life

Submitted by Fish for Teeth

Islanders, unable to afford dental care, can receive it for free thanks to the local nonprofit Fish for Teeth on Friday, Jan. 19 through Saturday, Jan. 20.

“Many volunteers and local businesses work as a team to bring this service to those who cannot otherwise afford dental care,” said Fish for Teeth Founder Matt Marinkovich, a San Juan Island commercial fisherman.

Fish for Teeth sponsors a mobile dental van for two-day dental clinics on San Juan Island, three times a year. The Medical Teams International’s van can handle dental hygiene appointments to root canals.

Patients are seen by appointment only. Pick up applications at the San Juan Island Family Resource Center or the county health department, or download them at

Submit applications to the San Juan County Health Department on Rhone Street. Volunteers, not the county health department employees, determine scheduling a week before the clinic, based on severity and space. Usually, about 30 people are treated during the two-day clinic.

To raise funds for the van, Fish for Teeth volunteers will sell fish tacos starting at 11 a.m., Friday, Jan. 19 at the Ace Hardware in Friday Harbor. They will be available for a $7 donation.

These “tacos” are more like burritos; a large flour or tortilla is stuffed with wild Alaskan rockfish (from healthy stocks), cheese, Pablito’s Salsa, seasoned cabbage, and topped with a squeeze of lime.

The nonprofit has not served fish tacos since last January, although the clinics have continued. It has been difficult finding enough volunteers to man the trenches so the team can produce over 350 tacos in just a few hours. Thankfully, the Kiwanis Club of Friday Harbor is stepping in this time to fill the labor gap. If anyone is interested in volunteering, contact Marinkovich at

Marinkovich formed Fish for Teeth in 2007, after noticing a community need for affordable dental care. The Fish for Teeth board, comprised of local fishermen and dental professionals, sponsors the mobile dental clinic every January, May and October on San Juan Island. Fish for Teeth receives no federal funding and relies solely on donations, which are tax-deductible.

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