Mobile unit brings dentist to patients
By FLORI MEEKS
A mobile dentistry unit that has mostly served the east and southeast Houston areas is coming to north Harris County this month.
Beginning Jan. 12, the Washington Mobile Dentistry Unit will operate 2-8 p.m. Tuesdays from the parking lot at Northwest Assistance Ministries, 15555 Kuykendahl.
Appointments are required, and sign-up is available now in the NAM lobby. Patients also can schedule appointments by calling 888-533-3852 or 281-497-1450.
We meet the needs of under-served communities in Houston and the surrounding areas," unit founder Dr. Sharhonda Washington said.
The unit primarily provides low-cost dental care to uninsured adults and children receiving CHIP and Medicaid benefits.
It maintains regular Wednesday hours at the Willow Creek Apartments, 7575 Office City Drive in southeast Houston, and Thursday hours at Ripley House, 4410 Navigation.
The unit also makes one-time stops upon demand at churches, community centers, businesses and schools throughout Greater Houston and in Dallas.
Most people want a regular place to go," manager Diva Herazo said. Now we have another place where we can see our patients.
We are very excited with this location because we know in this area we're the only one providing this service."
The dental unit, which handles simple extractions, teeth cleaning, fillings and preventative care, was established in September 2008.
Washington, a Pearland resident who grew up in Missouri City, also maintains a private practice at 8619 Richmond Ave, between Westheimer Road and the Westpark Tollway.
She has been interested in serving populations in need since she was a student at Meharry Medical College's School of Dentistry in Nashville, Tenn. There, she and her fellow students regularly treated low-income patients.
It was instilled in me," Washington said. That population seems a little more appreciative at times."
After graduation, Washington practiced dentistry at the North Central Texas Community Health Center in Wichita Falls, before returning to the Houston area in 2004.
She said she's excited about the mobile unit and its potential to help the community. It's really a great opportunity," she said. Not only are we serving adults with dental needs, but kids as well."
Washington regularly emphasizes the importance of good dental health and its impact on patients' overall health. I try to do a lot of education," she said.
Patients who need more extensive care than the mobile unit offers are referred to Washington's Richmond Avenue practice, where she offers them the same discounted rates they would receive at the unit.
For more information, visit www.washingtonmobiledentistry.com or www.alldaydental.com.
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