Free Dental Clinic
At St. Francis Mission, we have a vision of adequate dental health for all people on Rosebud Reservation. In 2013, we opened the St. Francis Mission Dental Clinic to give Lakota adults and children the dental care they have long needed. A recent American Dental Association study found that 90 percent of the Lakota people on Rosebud Reservation have chronic tooth decay or gum disease. This dental health crisis is the result of living in one of the poorest counties in the United States.
Volunteer dentists and assistants, some of them from Dental Schools at Creighton and Indiana Universities and the Universities of South Dakota, Nebraska and Missouri, University of Connecticut, are providing many services in the St. Francis Mission Dental Clinic. These services include dental exams, x-rays, fillings, cleanings, treatments, follow-up checkups, and education in preventive care.
About the Clinic
An American Dental Association study found that 90% of the Lakota people on the Rosebud Reservation have chronic tooth decay or gum disease. Annual statistics place our county among the five poorest in the entire United States. The local Indian Health Service has one dentist for over 10,000 people. When Dr. John Boarini, a 1955 graduate of Chicago’s Loyola School of Dentistry, saw the need he responded. He and his dentist sons solicited donations of equipment and supplies.
A license from the state was obtained and the St. Francis Mission Dental Clinic LLC was created with Dr. John Kharouf of Rapid City as its first “owner.” Current member owners are Drs. Monty Bechtold of Pierre, SD, Jason Aanenson of Freeman, SD, and Chad Carpenter of Rapid City, SD. The clinic opened in 2012.
Clinic director Marty Jones, a licensed dental hygienist, is assisted by an office manager and a dental assistant. Volunteers provide all the dental services: exams, x-rays, fillings, cleanings, treatments, follow-up checkups, and education in preventive care. Besides volunteer dentists, assistants, and hygienists from around the country, the clinic also partners with Dental Schools at Creighton and Indiana Universities, and the Universities of South Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri-Kansas City, and Connecticut.
WHAT PATIENTS SAY
What’s Happening at the Dental Clinic
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