Submitted by Fish for Teeth
Islanders can receive affordable dental care, thanks to the local nonprofit Fish for Teeth. The mobile dental van will be at the Millis Community Center on San Juan Island in Friday Harbor from Wednesday, May 5 through Saturday, May 8.
“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.
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 www.fishforteeth.com. 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 prognosis and space.
Fish for Teeth sponsors the Medical Teams International mobile dental van four times each year. The van can handle a variety of services, from teeth cleanings to root canals. There are no income parameters limiting who can be seen in the van; the criteria is if your teeth need attention and you don’t have the funds to properly care for them, then you should apply.
The four-day clinics are thanks to a grant from the North Sound Accountable Communities of Health Oral Health Local Impact Network, funded by Arcora. This grant also brought the van to Lopez and Orcas throughout 2021. The grant expanded the scope of the van, but it does not cover all of the costs associated with bringing the van to the island(s).
Fish for Teeth’s main fundraiser is making fish tacos three times each year; sorry, there are no fish tacos corresponding with the dental van this time. Aside from tacos, supplemental funding comes from individual contributions from caring members of our community.
Marinkovich formed Fish for Teeth in 2007, after noticing a community need for affordable dental care. The Fish for Teeth board is comprised of local fishermen and dental professionals. Fish for Teeth receives no government funding and relies solely on donations, which are tax-deductible.