BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday it has partnered with Medical Teams International to provide dental hygiene treatment for inmates within the adult jail.
Medical Teams International is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization who has graciously assisted with bringing dental treatment to those currently housed within the adult jail.
As reported by the American Dental Association, good oral hygiene is linked to overall health and well-being. Periodontal disease is linked to cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and pregnancy complications such as low birthweight and preeclampsia.
Individuals who are incarcerated can experience many challenging health problems, including poor oral health. Dental disease can be extreme in the jail environment, and for some, jail or prison is the only time in their adult lives when they will have seen a dentist.
Once in custody, individuals are unable to visit the dentist on their own, so correctional staff struggle to find ways to assist inmates while they suffer both pain and complications.
"Our idea to partner with Medical Teams International came out of need and good timing," the announcement said. "Our medical staff have seen the Medical Teams International van visiting places like the Veterans' Outreach and even homeless camps around Central Oregon.
"After many months of coordination, we were thrilled to have them come to our facility to allow more patients to be seen in a month than taking adults in custody to dental appointments one at a time. It will not only save time but allow more patients to be treated for less money."
Mobile dentistry provides on-site dental services where inmates can receive care within the jail. Care can include fillings, extractions and treatment of severe gum disease. Mobile dentistry can help the jail break down barriers to receiving dental care, including cost, availability and safety.