Dentist donates $39,000 in equipment to Frederiksted Health Care office


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ST. CROIX - The clients at Frederiksted Health Care's dental office in Golden Rock got a Christmas present this year, even if they don't know it yet.

Local dentist Dr. Olutayo Delano donated more than $30,000 worth of equipment to the Frederiksted Health Care dental office, which serves clients regardless of whether they have insurance.

The donated equipment includes a panoramic X-ray unit from Veraview, with transportation, installation and training, along with a "Light Year Direct Digital Sensor with Rinn Positioners and Practice Management Bridge," according to a statement Frederiksted Health Care released.

Staff on Monday demonstrated the new equipment, which allows them to take x-rays of a patient's entire jaw.

"The donation means quite a bit to the health center and patients," said Dr. Talia Moses, Frederiksted Health Care chief dental officer. The donation gives Frederiksted Health Care dentists access to technology that allows them to diagnose joint issues; TMJ, which can affect chewing and jaw movement; and other issues with the jaw, Moses said.

Previously, clients who needed the kind of panoramic x-rays that can be done with the donated equipment would have been referred to a private practice, Moses said.

"As you can imagine for an uninsured patient who fell below the poverty line," the patient might have chosen not to have it done, Moses said.

During the course of this year - a year in which the V.I. Health Department stopped offering dental services - nonprofit Frederiksted Health Care has expanded its dental program on the island significantly.

In February, Frederiksted Health Care started its new on-site dental program at its Ingeborg-Nesbitt Clinic in Frederiksted. That same month, the Health Department discontinued its dental program, leaving the Frederiksted clinic the only option for uninsured residents in need of low-cost dental services.

In October, Frederiksted Health Care expanded to open a dental clinic site in the Christiansted area, in the Easterly Building in Golden Rock, where the donated panoramic x-ray equipment now is housed.

Delano, of Tooth Works, said that he made the donation after he upgraded his equipment.

"I know that what is set up here is going to be very good for the community because we don't have enough dentists in the community, and the people need dental care," Delano said. "So whatever I can do to support them, I will."

Jason Henry, of Frederiksted Health Care, said the nonprofit is "really excited" about the equipment.

"Now we are able to provide this service," he said. "Individuals who are uninsured can get the same care as individuals who are insured,"

Although the Frederiksted Health Care dental clinics also see patients who have insurance, they also offer services on a sliding scale fee basis, according to family size and ability to pay, to provide a low-cost alternative for those who are uninsured or underinsured.

- Contact Joy Blackburn at 714-9145 or e-mail jblackburn@dailynews.vi.

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