Craig The Miles for Smiles van rolled out of the Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition parking lot July 29, ending its two-month stay in Craig. When the dentist on wheels left, the dental options for 2,000 at risk children in Moffat, Routt and Rio Blanco counties decreased.
Moffat County is one of 24 counties in Colorado without a dentist who accepts Medicaid. The coalition's executive director, Debbie Garoutte, said she dreams of opening a clinic in the three-county area to provide dental care for indigent children and eventually adults.
"This is a dental-shortage area," Garoutte said. "No one accepts Medicaid and our local dentists are booked two months ahead of time."
Garoutte said the coalition provided $85,000 worth of services during the time that the Miles for Smiles van was in town from June to late July.
"The biggest problem I see is that parents don't think they need to take care of their infant's teeth because they are going to fall out anyway," she said. "We've had countless numbers of root canals and fillings for 2-, 3- and 4-year-olds."
Garoutte said she hoped the coalition and dentists in Craig can join together to educate families about the oral health.
There are currently five dentists and one orthodontist who have office time in Craig. The five family dentists are Dr. Neal Fenton, DDS, Dr. John Ilko, DMD, Dr. James McCreight, DDS, Dr. Wendy McCreight, and Dr. Dushan Voyich. The McCreights also practice in Steamboat Springs.
Outside of family dentistry, Dr. John Lupori, MD, DDS, who specializes in oral surgery, visits Craig Wednesdays at Dr. Ilko's office. Dr. Allan Weimer is in Craig Tuesdays and Thursdays as the town's only orthodontist.