Virginia Garcia Dental has become a leader in Oregon in providing dental services to pregnant women and advancing early childhood hygiene and disease prevention. We offer comprehensive dental care to children up to age 21, both insured and uninsured, with the goal of establishing a dental home for all children.
We provide truly integrated care. Ideally, any child receiving medical services at Virginia Garcia can also access dental services along with any needed mental health and pharmacy services. At Virginia Garcia, we recognize the importance of seeing children for their first dental visit by their first birthday or first tooth, and we hold “Baby Days” once a month at all of the Virginia Garcia dental clinics.
Additionally, we offer dental screenings, and comprehensive treatment and education sessions to established OB patients at all Virginia Garcia sites – regardless of insurance status. We also provide dental care to diabetic patients currently seen by our medical providers in the McMinnville Clinic.
School-Based Dental Health
Oral health is embedded in our School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs), with an on-site dental hygienist available at each SBHC several times per month. The hygienist provides screenings, cleanings and sealants, and triages patients into appointment slots with our dental van that visits most SBHCs at least once a quarter.
The VG Dental program, operating since 1997, continues to grow with new clinics established in Beaverton and Newberg in 2014, as well as further expansion of our SBHC network to include dental services for students in Beaverton and Tualatin.
Virginia Garcia continues to build upon the success of the First Tooth program, a statewide effort to prevent early childhood tooth decay by training medical and dental providers to implement preventive oral health services for infants and toddlers ages three and under.
Virginia Garcia has been actively involved with the First Tooth program since initial planning stages with the State Oral Health Department. VG provided the First Tooth Trainer, Karen Hall, an expanded-practice dental hygienist with Virginia Garcia. Our Dental Director, Liza Bozzetti, continues to support First Tooth through work on a committee overseeing project development and continuation.
First Tooth has the potential to dramatically improve oral health for young children by extending pediatric dental training to medical providers, since they see children multiple times in the first years of life and are in a position to provide education to parents and provide screenings during well-child checks. The program is especially important for practitioners in rural areas who would not otherwise have access to this training and where access to a dentist who sees young children may be more difficult. The First Tooth program has trained general dentists to see children ages 0-3 in their practices, something many general dentists have not traditionally done.
Across Oregon, over 2,000 practitioners have received First Tooth training and Virginia Garcia has collaborated with First Tooth to provide training for all of its medical and dental sites.
Baby Days is a Virginia Garcia Dental program that provides dental care to infants through conference-style groups with parent participation. Parents learn about good oral hygiene practices for themselves and their infants as well as tips for baby bottle cavity prevention and nutrition.
Baby Days started at the VG Cornelius clinic around 2004, based on a successful model in the Multnomah County Health Department’s Dental Clinics. The program has expanded to all VG dental clinics.
Expanded Care for Pregnant Women
Virginia Garcia’s ability to provide dental care for pregnant women at all clinics received a boost in 2013 from the CAWEM (Citizen Alien Waived Emergency Medical) Prenatal Expansion Program.
CAWEM is a state program that provides medical and dental care to pregnant women who are ineligible for the Oregon Health Plan due to their immigration status. As a result, many women now have access to dental insurance, sometimes for the first time in their lives. Uninsured patients often limit the amount of dental care they received due to cost, even on a sliding scale. With dental coverage they can often complete an entire treatment plan, effectively decreasing the load of bacteria in their own mouths as they prepare to bring their new babies into the world.