Tillamook Creates Smiles for Miles

September 16, 2018 | Melody Ayers

The mouth is a window to the rest of our body, often providing warning signs of heart disease, diabetes or cancer. Realizing the importance of oral health in maintaining wellness, Adventist Health’s Tillamook Regional Medical Center on the Oregon coast is helping to provide dental care for those who lack adequate resources for a dental visit.

Through a partnership with Medical Teams International, Adventist Health has been creating access to dental care in Tillamook with a mobile dental van service. Care is specifically provided for people who have urgent dental needs but lack financial resources such as health insurance or personal funds to cover a high deductible. This partnership has brought hope to 259 individuals who have received services with a combined value of $102,000.

Tillamook Regional Medical Center provides dentists and hygienists, power hookup, promotion, education, and patient screening and scheduling. Medical Teams International provides the van, medical supplies and personnel. Together, they are providing health to those who might otherwise experience complications that devastate their overall health and well-being.

“Our mission calls us to live God’s love every moment of every day throughout our community,” says David Butler, Adventist Health Tillamook president. “Relieving pain and bringing hope to our rural communities along the Oregon coast is an outpouring of that mission.” 

Even though services are limited to the basics such as fillings and extractions, the relief each person feels is immense. A woman who had suffered several weeks of dental pain came to the hospital in tears hoping to get an appointment with the mobile dental team. When she learned the outreach team could fit her into their packed schedule, she was so grateful she nearly jumped for joy.

“Adventist Health and Medical Teams International are well-aligned. Their mission calls them to provide loving care for the whole person — physical, emotional, social and spiritual — while ours is a promise to live God’s love by inspiring health, wholeness and hope,” says Butler. “This service is putting smiles on people’s faces and removing obstacles to good health. Together we are creating healthier communities.”  

This partnership is helping meet the needs of the underserved by healing the sick and mending the broken. Patients suffering from intense pain find relief and a new lease on a healthier life.