UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry community clinic fights dental disease in Hispanic children

Ricardo Salinas Pediatric Dental Clinic has been open for 20 years

SAN ANTONIO – For about 20 years, the Ricardo Salinas Pediatric Dental Clinic on the West Side has been providing low cost care and targeting dental disease in Hispanic children.

“It’s a haven for our patients who cannot afford dental care,” Claudia Contreras, D.D.S at UT Health San Antonio said.

Contreras said the clinic is critical for the community.

“We do see children that come with sometimes several cavities. Caries is very, very, I want to say is very high in some of our immigrant children that have maybe arrived eight months ago or three months ago and they don’t have the care,” Contreras said.

Clinic staff help parents learn more about their child’s oral health.

“The emphasis is on the preventative, making sure that parents understand what’s causing these cavities. What can we do to prevent it?” Contreras said.

For about 13 years, Maria Hernandez has been bringing her children to the clinic.

“I feel comfortable and believe they are doing a great job,” Hernandez said.

It’s a place where Hernandez says she can afford dental care for her kids.

Hernandez says she likes the payment plans available at the UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry Community Clinic.

“Teeth are so important not just for esthetics, but for eating, for chewing, for talking,” Contreras said.

The UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry partners with the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District in the Ricardo Salinas Pediatric Dental Clinic, located at 630 S. General McMullen.

The health district, along with the Children’s Shelter of San Antonio and the Texas Cavaliers, have been supporters of the Ricardo Salinas clinic, helping to keep patient costs low.

Last year, Delta Dental’s Community Care Foundation awarded $50,000 to support patient care at both the Ricardo Salinas clinic and the school’s other community clinic in Laredo.

About the Author

Tiffany Huertas is a reporter for KSAT 12 known for her in-depth storytelling and her involvement with the community.

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