Monroeville dentist to offer free basic care Wednesday
No cash, no insurance — not a problem in Monroeville, where two medical facilities within a mile of each other offer free health care to those in need.
Once a year, Dr. Larry Suher Family Dentistry offers basic dental care — a free filling, cleaning or tooth extraction. Suher, who is preparing to provide free basic dental care on Wednesday, said he treats as many uninsured patients as possible.
“We'll accept anyone who comes, as many as they come,” Suher said. “I and my staff will do what we have to do.”
Suher said he was inspired to offer free care by a dentist in Florida. The annual service has become a morale booster at his Old William Penn Highway office during the first three years Suher has offered it.
“When we go home that day, it's a day that we feel better about everything,” he said.
To get the word out, a combined 60 churches, shelters and food banks in the Monroeville and Pittsburgh area were notified of the service this year.
“They've had a good turn out (in years past), but it could always be better,” said Carly Pavlecic, marketing director for the dental office.
One of the churches Pavlecic contacted was Monroeville Assembly of God where, coincidentally, free medical care is offered to uninsured patients.
“When I saw that flyer (for free dentistry), I thought, perhaps we could work something out,” Medical clinic director JoAnn Parham said.
The church's medical ministry effort relies on donations, grants and a staff of 75 health care professionals and assistants who volunteer their time, Parham said.
While a doctor's office can be set up and disassembled each week, a dentists' chair is a permanent fixture and more challenging for a volunteer ministry to offer, Parham said. So the flyer distributed by the dentist office down the road was a pleasant surprise, she said.
“Most dentists do not do pro bono work,” she said. “It's very difficult to find.”
While some people might skip routine examinations due to financial issues, keeping up with dental visits is important because a trip can bring to light more serious health issues such as diabetes and AIDS.
Federal law requires Medicaid to cover basic dental services, though many state programs fail to deliver care to even half of their eligible children, according to the American Dental Association.
Patients who are covered under public programs still face hurdles, such as transportation to dental appointments and the difficulty of missing work to keep the appointments, according to the website.
Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- PSSA scores reveal gap in achievement at Gateway
- Pitcairn continues demolition plans
- New director hopes to steer Monroeville’s Forbes Road CTC to success
- Bike program offers chance to ride for special-needs kids at Forbes Hospital in Monroeville
- Gateway superintendent gets early notice that contract won’t be renewed
- Pitcairn public-works garage roof to be fixed