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LETTER: Let’s use collaborative supervision more

To the Editor:

I would like to point out how Dr. Stephen Gullings, Mitchell, and his staff take advantage of the collaborative supervision law in South Dakota that allows dentists and dental hygienists to work together to treat patients in alternative settings — nursing homes for example — instead of private dental offices. I had prayed that a service like this would be available.

I hope this letter will prompt other dental health care professions to step forward and join them in any way possible so collaborative supervision can become commonplace in our state and so access to dental care will be a right rather than a luxury.

My mother is a resident of Firesteel Health Care Center in Mitchell. I can’t express how wonderful it is not to have to take mom out of Firesteel to have her teeth cleaned and examined. My mom has less stress mentally, physically and emotionally not traveling to and from dental appointments, and this decrease in stress extends to her loved ones and the nursing home staff not having to arrange for transport or accompany her. Anything that serves to benefit my mom at Firesteel will extend to the other residents, as well.

Sometimes the public may forget that anyone going into a nursing home needs to maintain personal dignity, which includes personal hygiene. So the ability to bring dental services to mom is extremely important to that end, for her oral and overall health and appearance.