let your work mean more
let your work mean more
- Lessons in a Lunch Box: Healthy Teeth Essentials & Facts About Snacks ® is an oral health literacy program designed to empower children and their families with the proper knowledge about routine dental care, oral health maintenance, good dietary choices and more using a “dentally designed” lunch box.
- The lunch box provides children with their very own “Dental Care in a Carrot” case. The carrot case is designed to include a toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss and a rinse cup!
- 60-minute Oral Hygiene presentation for students in 2nd and 3rd grade
By: Susana C. Porras, DMD
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
Chair, Community Service
Houston Hispanic Dental Association
THE HOUSTON MILAGROS PROJECT
Providing one-on-one help to Hispanic patients in need
Dental Disease is a common chronic disease that affects above 90 % of the overall adult population of the United States, with the highest prevalence of dental caries and periodontal disease being among the Hispanic population. For the combined 2009-2012 period ,according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), periodontitis prevalence was highest in Hispanics (63.5%) compared to Non-Hispanic Blacks (59.1%) and least among Non-Hispanic Whites (40.8%). In addition, prevalence varied two fold between the lowest and highest levels of socioeconomic status, whether defined by poverty or education.
Dental caries and tooth loss are important oral health indicators for adults and are key measures for monitoring progress toward health promotion goals set by Healthy People 2020. On a recent report published in 2015 by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), 91% of U. S. adults aged 20-64 had dental caries in permanent teeth and 27% had untreated tooth decay. Overall dental caries prevalence for Hispanics was 85%; being untreated tooth decay higher for Hispanics (36%) and Non-Hispanic Black (42%) compared with Non-Hispanic white (22%) and non-Hispanic Asian (17%) adults aged 20-64.
After analyzing this data and a projection of an increase in Hispanic population from 16.7% to 30% by 2050, the Houston Hispanic Dental Association is focusing on facilitating access to dental care in the Greater Houston area to improve the overall prevalence of dental disease in the US Hispanic population.
Over the last years, we have contributed extensively to our community by providing approximately $20,000/year in dental treatment through our efforts with the San Jose Clinic, Colgate minivan screenings, Cinco de Mayo screenings, as well as participating as dental partner with The Greater Houston Dental Society (GHDS) in the annual Give Kids A Smile event. In this event, patients receive approximately $75,000 in free dental services. However, we felt our community needed more!
The Houston Milagros Project was first started in 2015 as an effort to cover more comprehensive dental needs in the Hispanic community in Houston. The patients participating in the selection process need to meet certain requirements such as low or no income- unable to afford dental treatment; comprehensive dental treatment needed, and most importantly show commitment with the rehabilitation process. The totality of the oral rehabilitation is provided by general dentists and specialists in the Houston area at no cost to the patient.
This year’s selected patient is Mrs. Miriam Martinez. Miriam is a 38 year-old Hispanic female with past medical history significant for diabetes mellitus- under control with medication and diet. No other significant health issues. Miriam presented to the San Jose Clinic at a community service event HHDA performed and was selected based on her needs for comprehensive dental rehabilitation. Miriam lost her job of five years. She was a cashier at a restaurant when her husband had a car accident in 2014. Her husband’s medical condition was critical after the accident, presenting with brain injury and multiple fractures across his body. She was forced to leave her job to take care of her husband including taking him to physical therapy at Houston’s prime rehabilitation center TIRR/Memorial Hermann.
Miriam’s comprehensive treatment plan includes various dental specialties such as oral surgery and implants, periodontics and restorative dentistry. The total cost of her dental rehabilitation is approximately $37,000. Miriam was taken under the wing of the Houston Hispanic Dental Association, who provided all the necessary services at no cost to her. Several dentists have been committed to provide Miriam with the outermost dental care in order to give her back her smile. Her progress and improvement to date have been significant. She’s wearing a brand new interim upper denture and is now working on her lower arch restorations. She will be having dental implants placed on a second surgical stage with the purpose of having an implant supported overdenture in the upper arch.
Miriam is extremely grateful. She thinks she has been blessed with the opportunity to have her dental treatment done during this moment of need in her life. In her own words: “I can’t believe this is happening to me. This is a real miracle and a blessing. I am able to smile again.”
The Houston Milagros Project goal is to be able to serve and treat more patients in need of a comprehensive dental treatment at no cost to the patients. Every year, more dental professionals are willing to participate and donate their services.
Special thanks to doctors and staff that made The Houston Milagros Project possible: Yesenia Garcia, DMD (Orthodontics); Susana C. Porras, DMD and Manuel Diaz, DDS (Oral Surgeons); Bassam Badr, DDS