Photo caption: Fish For Teeth sponsors a mobile dental van for dental clinics in the San Juan Islands, up to four times a year. (Contributed photo.)

Appointments still available Fish for Teeth dental van

  • Mon Jan 11th, 2021 1:30am
  • Life

Submitted by Fish for Teeth

Fish for Teeth is continuing its tooth-fixing mission by bringing the Medical Teams International Mobile Dental Van to Friday Harbor. There are still a few appointments available over Friday and Saturday. Apply through fishforteeth.com or at the San Juan County Health Department, or Joyce L. Sobel Family Resource Center.

Fish for Teeth serves individuals who do not have dental insurance and cannot afford dental care. There are no income restrictions, as Fish for Teeth seeks to fill the gap of those “in the middle” between qualifying for government-funded programs and being able to independently afford needed care for themselves or their families. If you are in need of dental care and haven’t seen a dentist because you cannot afford it, then you should apply to Fish for Teeth.

Those on Medicare are also welcome to apply. Fish for Teeth realizes there are very few dentists on the islands who accept Medicare-funded patients. Islanders must go off-island (and miss a day of work) in order to find a dentist who will accept Medicare; most people cannot afford that option and wind up living with a toothache.

Fish for Teeth exists because there is a tremendous need in San Juan County. Fish for Teeth has been sponsoring the MTI Dental Van since 2012, paying for it by accepting donations for Fish Tacos three times a year (Fish Tacos will be at the SJI Community Theater this Friday from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m., or until sold out). Unsolicited donations by individuals in our community help to fill the gap where Fish Tacos fall short.

The MTI Dental Van has been coming four times per year, and Fish for Teeth plans on keeping that schedule even though Covid-compliancy means the dental van can only utilize one of the two dental chairs available, which reduces the patients by half. Instead of fulfilling half the need, Fish for Teeth has doubled-down and is hosting the dental van for twice as long.

Through a grant from the North Sound Accountable Communities of Health (ACH) Oral Health Local Impact Network, funded by Arcora, the same amount of islanders will be served by bringing the van to SJI for four days instead of the usual two days. The ACH grant does not cover all the costs, so Fish for Teeth will keep to our grindstone, cranking out Fish Tacos to pay the bills that will make this service possible (and accepting donations from individuals).

Kiwanis Club of Friday Harbor is a key contributor to making Fish Tacos happen. Kiwanis appear like food-service angels, creating miracles in the Fish Taco realm. Many other local businesses contribute to Fish for Teeth as well; an incomplete list of thank-yous goes to Friday Harbor Suites; Mullis Senior Center; San Juan Community Theatre; American Legion Post 163; Friday Harbor Grange; Cynthia’s Bistro; Port of Friday Harbor; Earth Box Suites; Friday Harbor Seafood; Sasha’s Island Transport; Pablito’s Salsa; Friday Harbor Ace Hardware. And a very abbreviated list of individuals: Dr. Michael Horn, DDS; Sandy Rabinowitz; Kristen Rezabeck; Charlene Rhodes; Hayley Day; Sara Younglove; Aimee Urata; and Don Chenowith.

It takes a village to provide good dental care for all on San Juan Island, and thanks to our generous community we are achieving that goal. If you value the efforts of Fish for Teeth and would like to lend financial support, please donate at fishforteeth.com, or mail a check to PO Box 2084 Friday Harbor 98250.