Business News: Access Health expanding dental services, facilities in Luling

August 03 at 2:32 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Business News: Access Health expanding dental services, facilities in Luling
Dr. Michael Boudreaux says what’s going on at the St. Charles Health Community Center “is pretty big.”

Construction is underway on the Luling dental expansion project, which means the center can offer additional dental care to patients for pay or assistance, said Boudreaux, who recently joined the staff.

Boudreaux first learned about Access Health Louisiana center in 2009-10 when a friend at the center introduced him to Mark Keiser, Health Center CEO. Over the years since their initial meeting, Keiser had an opening for a dentist and Boudreaux filled in temporarily and part-time until Kaiser invited him to come there permanently in November. He joined Dr. Cynthia Caldwell, a dentist with the clinic for nearly nine years.

“I started in dentistry in community health on a scholarship that paid for dental school and living expenses,” he said. “In exchange, I worked in community health four years. When I went into dentistry, I intended to go into community health.”

Boudreaux went into private practice instead, but missed treating people “as they should be treated” by providing necessary care regardless of cost. With this kind of care, patients didn’t end up in emergency rooms for untreated dental infections.

In reality, he said money was saved in the long run by providing good service.

After 11 years in dentistry, Boudreaux came to the Health Center.

What he saw was growth with the number of dental chairs increasing to five chairs and the addition of an impressive lab planned because of a grant. Dental work has been handled at the Norco center while the Luling one is upgraded with additions that Boudreaux said he’d put against just about any clinic in Louisiana.

The biggest improvement is updating equipment and bringing the total of chairs from three to five. But Boudreaux said the dental area itself is being expanded yet still offering more privacy.

The daily patient load is expected to increase from an average of 15 to 20 a day to 20 – 25 a day.

Boudreaux said the lack of facilities prevented some procedures being done like dentures, root canals or implants, which is changing because the grant is also funding new equipment. When they return to the Luling center, the staff will start doing movable prosthetics like dentures and partials.

A newly approved Delta Dental grant also will allow the purchase of equipment to do dental implants in the next six months, he said.

Services already include surgeries, fillings and cleanings. Dental hygienist Gwendolyn Henderson joined the staff about four months ago.

Boudreaux emphasized their dental services are available to the underprivileged or underserved, as well as the insured. Despite the perception that the care may be lesser quality, the quality of the staff at the center strongly says otherwise.

“Compared to being in private practice, the patients are lot more appreciative typically,” Boudreaux said. “You can tell that you’re really helping someone out. It’s a huge thing. When you think about young adults with cosmetic issues like missing a piece of front tooth it can be life altering to help them go out and smile again.”

View other articles written Anna Thibodeaux

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