Dental Health A Priority In The Latino Community

Sharing Information (L-R )Christian Vasquez – Clinica Tepeyac; Vicky Garza, Clinica Tepeyac; Daniela Young, Latino Community Foundation of Colorado; Gina Del Castillo, Executive Director Latina SafeHouse; Karina Intriago Gonzalez, Executive Director for SpringRock Dental; Tony Tapia, Latino Community Foundation; Tammy Pimble, SpringRock Dental, and Renee Hall, Clinica TepeyacSharing Information (L-R )Christian Vasquez – Clinica Tepeyac; Vicky Garza, Clinica Tepeyac; Daniela Young, Latino Community Foundation of Colorado; Gina Del Castillo, Executive Director Latina SafeHouse; Karina Intriago Gonzalez, Executive Director for SpringRock Dental; Tony Tapia, Latino Community Foundation; Tammy Pimble, SpringRock Dental, and Renee Hall, Clinica Tepeyac
By Latina SafeHouse for Latin Life Denver Media, Photos by Joe Contreras, Latin Life Denver
Angelica (not her real name)  always put her family first denying herself so many things in the process. Because she was undocumented she disregarded her dental needs, physical health and emotional wellbeing putting them on the backburner so her husband and kids could have a better life than she did. Her husband was abusive, hitting her and controlling her every move by isolating her taunting her with the fear of deportation and the separation from her children. One day he knocked out two of her teeth out in another one of his drunken rages. She just took it, kept quiet and was too afraid to seek the care she needed for her already fragile dental, mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.
Latina Safehouse Director Gina De; Castillo talks about the importance of bringing dental services to undocumented Latina victims of domestic violence.

Latina SafeHouse Director Gina Del Castillo talks about the importance of bringing dental services to undocumented Latina victims of domestic violence.

Latina SafeHouse along with other interested dental and nonprofit organizations have come together to address these vital oral health care concerns.  The oral health of a women victim of domestic violence may have come from the injuries of abuse that range from loose to broken teeth.

Due to the violence inflicted upon her thus the isolation may go untreated for months and sometimes years. This can lead to huge complications when finally treated. The group met to discuss just what is available for the indigent, low income and Spanish speaking women in the Metro Denver community.

L-R; Tammy Pimble, SpringRock Dental; Renee Hall, Clinica Tepeyac, Christian Vasquez, Clinica Tepeyac, Vicky Garza, Clinica Tepeyac; Daniela Young, Latino Community Foundation.

Domestic violence is a devastating reality in our communities and in our world today. Domestic violence affects 1 in every 4 women in the United States. A case is reported every minute in this country, and it is estimated that a woman is abused every 9 seconds.

Statistics show that domestic violence is the main cause of injury to women – more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined. There are numerous causes that effect and impact overall well-being, physical and mental health of these women.  These areas are in our everyday life that we don’t often consider when we look at our health.

“This is a concern for all of us, we see the devastation every day and understand that there is so much more we can do together to make a change” as passionately stated by Karina Intriago Gonzalez Executive Director of SpringRock Dental.  “The devastation goes beyond just having our “pearly whites” it effects the self-esteem”.

One of our primary concerns are the women we see that have been profoundly affected by the results of domestic violence, states Gina Del Castillo, Executive Director of Latina SafeHouse.  Domestic Violence is a devastating reality in our community today and incidences are growing each year.

Violence and abuse affect one in every 4 women in the United States and national statistics indicated that a woman is abused every 9 seconds and is the main cause of injury to women over any other violent crime combined.

For a domestic abuse situation, women are often kept away from agencies that could provide help to the families, however, the abuser does not want to be discovered so isolation is the means in which he asserts his authority.

Isolation is often the tactic that is used to gain power and control over the victim. A study conducted by Department of Public Health Dentistry, D.J College of Dental Sciences and Research Modinagar in 2013 found that 20 – 55% of women have suffered from domestic violence. According to the study, “domestic violence is a major contributor to poor health leading psychological trauma and depression, injuries, sexually transmitted diseases, suicide and even murder. These health related implications also impact dental health.”

“Their mental health is also impacted by this, depression from the isolation is often seen with individuals coming to our center” as stated by Clinical Supervisor Christian Vasquez from Clinica Tepeyac.  “The trauma associated with domestic violence from a cultural lens is associated with shame; this is not something they wish to talk about” as Vicky Garza, case manager from Clinic Tepeyac explains further why seeking services can be challenging.

L-R: Tammy Pimble, SpringRock Dental and Renee Hall, Clinica Tepeyac

L-R: Tammy Pimble, SpringRock Dental and Renee Hall, Clinica Tepeyac.

 

Other participants include service providers from Latino Community Foundation of Colorado’s Daniela Young and Tony Tapa from the Latina Age Wave Project.  Seniors especially have a difficult time seeking and receiving assistance and add finding a Spanish speaking dentist compounds the search.

A great supporter of the community is Dr. Efren Martinez and his son Antonio Martinez.  Dr. Efren Martinez, states fervently, “we are here for our community, we want to help in any way we can, from cleanings to dentures.  We have our own labs and will get the job done!”

Hopefully, this will be the onset of many more discussions moving forward.  If you would like information on where to access affordable dental health care contact any one of these organizations:

SpringRock Dental:  303-367-2020 or 303-614-7473

Latina SafeHouse:  303-433-4470

Clinica Tepeyac:  303- 458-5302

Latino Age Wave:  303-398-7447

Martinez Dental:  303-733-7533