Just in time for the start of the school year, the University at Buffalo Dental Van has partnered with Jamestown Pediatric Associates.
The van will be in the parking lot of the Fairmount Avenue office until Aug. 31 to offer a variety of services, including exams, cleanings, fillings, and extractions. The van has frequently visited the Chautauqua County area and has made a more permanent arrangement with the children’s agency so that they can visit every summer in the future.
Sarah Barry, a dentist with the UB Dental Van program, said they have been based at Jamestown Pediatrics since early August and are already seeing patients regularly.
While they can perform various services in the van, there are a few that cannot be done there. Barry said patients who need anything not available in the van can be referred to local community providers or to the UB Dental School.
While the van focuses primarily on children’s dental health, Barry said they’ve had other events for veterans and other adults.
“Right now I see a mix on Monday and Tuesday,” she said. “On Friday I have my pediatrician here who only sees children. But she can perform more complicated procedures on children’s teeth.”
Barry said they see quite a few patients every day, but the number of appointments depends on how many caregivers are on duty at the time.
“Normally we’re looking at seven to 12 a day, depending on the difficulty and complications,” she said.
Barry said the dental van program has been coming to Chautauqua County for “decades of years.”
“Normally we are in the schools, we go from school to school, so parents who absolutely cannot get out of work (can) sign a form, we take (the student) out of the classroom, take care of their needs, and they go back to class,” she said. “Everything can be done for them, and the parents get letters. We support parents who do not have access to care for their children, and then the community as a whole.”
The van is currently supported by the Mother Cabrini Foundation, which has supported several outreaches the program has held.
“They’ve been giving us subsidies for years,” says Barry. “They’ve been such a support.”
She’s happy to have a more permanent van location in the summer and is excited about the new partnership with Jamestown Pediatric Associates. “Jamestown Peds actually installed a plug, so this will be one of our permanent summer locations,” she said.
At other times, the van is in local school districts in the area, including Dunkerque and Brocton. At that time, the van can only treat children in those areas.
“We’ve been part of this community for a long time – I’ve personally been in this van for almost 10 years,” Barry said. “I even saw a patient today that I’ve been seeing for seven to eight years. (I) watch these children grow up and provide for their needs. I think it’s an amazing thing to have a place where they know and remember their dentists and bond with their dentists. Supporting this community is very important – it’s a long-standing program.”
Jon Kazsuba, a fourth-year dental student at the University at Buffalo, said his time with the dental car was worth it.
“We do a lot of our work outside of downtown Buffalo, so getting to Jamestown is pretty nice,” Kazsuba said. “We commute down – it’s a rotation we have in school. I think everyone will have it once or twice a year. It’s a good learning experience, and it’s a nice outreach to the people of the community.”
He said that during their time with the van, the students are exposed to a lot of various dental issues, which helps them learn and grow as dentists. Kazsuba said the experience shows that the services provided by the van are needed here in Chautauqua County.
“Dentistry is something some people can’t afford,” Kazsuba said. “It’s nice to give back and come as a student and offer our service while providing a pleasant experience.”
The UB Dental Van is located at 816 Fairmount Ave until August 31. in Jamestown. The van is operational on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays from 9am to 4pm. For an appointment, patients are asked to call 803-3699 or 560-5127.
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