Adult oral health care is typically not provided under any government assistance program yet dental problems lead to a whole host of problems that prevent our clients from becoming more self-sufficient (or provide significant personal challenges). These problems range from a negative self image and difficulty in gaining employment to serious, disabling medical problems that keep clients from working.
The Bountiful Community Food Pantry has partnered with the Davis Applied Technology Center (DATC) and area dental professionals to provide oral health care to pantry clients on a referral basis and at no cost to the client. This program is known as Pantry Smiles and has been hugely successful. It was started in September 2012 spearheaded by Dr James Guinn, DMD, then pantry board member. In the first three years since its inception, Pantry Smiles has provided $340,000 of oral health care with profound benefits. In a recent three-month period, we served 27 individuals during more than 50 visits.
DATC provides state of the art facilities which now includes 4 dental chairs staffed with typically 3 dentists and one hygienist. Services include examinations, x-rays, cleanings, fillings, root canals, extractions, crowns and dentures some of which are provided through a partnership with Salt Lake Donated Dental. Dental professionals donate their time and supplies are either donated or provided at greatly reduced rates. The pantry screens and schedules all clients and schedules the dental professionals. Advanced students in the DATC dental assistant program gain invaluable job training working with the dentists.
The clinic is open half days every second and fourth Friday. The continued health and direction of the program are under the watchful eyes and engaged direction of doctors Duane Orchard, DDS and Craige Olsen, DDS, both pantry board members. If you’re interested in supporting this program in any capacity or have program questions, please contact the pantry.