Non-Profit Spotlight: Sonrisas Community Dental

This 501(c)3 organization is a local gem with a heart of gold.  Sonrisas is forward-thinking, inclusive, innovative and most importantly, highly committed to the community it serves – the Half Moon Bay Coastside!   Why does the Coastside need this organization?

Quality dental care for Coastside residents who have need – preventive, immediate treatment, education, collaborative approaches to problem-solving.  Eleven years after its founding, local children, seniors and adults, including our young adults, have fewer dental emergencies and have access to greater dental education and services.  Ongoing relationships with the University of the Pacific, University of San Francisco and the Foothill Community College support Sonrisas’ Mission as well.

Speaking the Language of the Coastside – Three quarters of Sonrisas’ employees and staff live in the Half Moon Bay/Coastside area.  The bilingual and bicultural staff includes dentists, hygienists, dental assistants and volunteer specialists such as oral surgeons, endodontists, periodontists.  They are our neighbors and friends.  Sonrisas Community Dental can be reached at 650-726-2144.

A forward-thinking and well-run organization attuned to its community – the patients, the donors, the volunteers, the staff, and the Board.  Here are some pretty cool thing going on right now…

  • Preparing to better serve as a result of the Affordable Health Care Act.  This legislation WILL AFFECT DENTAL CARE FOR ADULTS.  Sonrisas is already reaching out, especially to our local fishing and agricultural employees.  Planning occurs for any gaps in dental coverage as they are identified to serve and address problems as early as possible.  (It is more cost effective and better for the individual to get 2 cleanings a year than pull a tooth!)
  • Developing community outreach to enhance local collaborations and be a role model for inclusion and creativity on the Coastside.  Sonrisas participates in the Coastside Health Committee and enjoys involvement with other “safety-net” organizations within our Coastside community.
  • Innovative training in Virtual Dentistry.  This is a collaboration with Ravenswood Family Health Center and the pioneering tele-health project, Virtual Dental Home.   One tremendous benefit of this activity is that it allows children to have a fun and fearless dental experience at a young age (currently Head Start pre-school in Half Moon Bay) by sending trained virtual dentistry hygienists into a school OR hard to reach families for dental cleanings and exams without need for additional transportation.

I recently joined the Board of Directors of local Non-Profit, Sonrisas Community Dental.  The Board is a dynamic mix of dental, business and non-profit background and expertise.  At the Board meetings a “Mission Moment” is shared.  I will share one, in part, here.  I am honored to work along side these individuals in this small way to support the needs of our beloved community in a big way.

Sonrisas Community Dental Mission MomentYoung adult (30-40 years) presented with pain in multiple areas of the mouth.  Patient has multiple teeth with deep cavities.  We explained to the patient that some of the cavities are very close to the nerve of the tooth and may require root canal therapy if the decay actually reaches the nerve.  The patient indicated that he could afford the fillings, but if the tooth required a root canal and crown, he would need to extract the tooth due to the cost of treatment.  Unfortunately, this puts us in the position of extracting a tooth that could be saved if only finances weren’t an issue.  (Source:  Sonrisas Community Dental in Half Moon Bay CA)

Sonrisas Community Dental Recipient of San Mateo County Sustainability Award 2013.

 Sonrisas on Facebook – You are welcome to follow.

Company Page on Linked In – You are welcome to follow.

How the Supreme Court’s Ruling Affects Dental Care –, June 28, 2012.

Pacific School of Dentistry Demonstrates the Virtual Dental Home Utilizing Denticon Cloud-based Dental Software – PRWeb, February 18, 2013.