Wheeling Health Right Continues Dental Clinic Expansion | News, Sports, Jobs

James Eaton

Wheeling dentist Dr. Michael D. Medovic, center, observes as Tracy Kiaski, left, registered dental hygienist, and Andrew Bishop, a fourth year dental student at West Virginia University, provide dental work to a patient at Wheeling Health Right.

An increased focus on dentistry at Wheeling Health Right will lead to overall better medical care for many in the community, according to dentists providing the services at the free clinic.

The expansion of the dental clinic at Wheeling Health Right has brought the number of available dental chairs there from two to three, with a fourth chair soon to be operational. Dentists Michael D. Medovic of Wheeling and Michael Petrides of Weirton see patients in the clinic, and also oversee the work provided by dental students from West Virginia University.

Petrides termed Health Right a public service clinic that provides comprehensive care, including both medical and dental services.

A patient in need of dental care first receives a health screening when they come to Health Right. This initially determines whether there is any active infection associated with the dental problem..

“Then we set them up on a recall cycle. Just like a private office works, we see them every so often for their exams,” Petrides said.

photo by: Photo by Joselyn King

Wheeling dentist Dr. Michael D. Medovic, center, observes as Tracy Kiaski, left, registered dental hygienist, and Andrew Bishop, a fourth year dental student at West Virginia University, provide dental work to a patient at Wheeling Health Right.

Opening up the additional two dental chairs at the clinic will permit the dentists and dental students to “impact more patients on a regular basis.”

Petrides has been a practicing dentist for four years, and was once himself a dental student who provided care at Wheeling Health Right. Health Right has been offering dental care since 2016.

Medovic, meanwhile, has served in dentistry for 38 years, and is one of 17 trustees with the American Dental Association board.

“Many medical problems can complicate dental treatment, and likewise dental health can complicate medical problems,” he explained. “It’s important that we work together.

“This is a free and charitable clinic, but you have to go through the medical side before seeing the dentists.”

photo by: Photo by Joselyn King

Dental assistant Christa Sligar, left, and Brittany Carter, a fourth year dental student at West Virginia University, provide dental work to a patient at Wheeling Health Right.

This assures the patient is in good medical health, and capable of having dental treatment, Medovic continued.

“More importantly, if you have diabetes, high blood pressure or heart problems, oftentimes it can be complicated by dental disease,” he said. “So if we can (treat) the dental disease, we can improve your health on the medical side of things.”

Medovic reports the most common health issues found in patients coming for dental care are high blood pressure, cardiovascular issues and diabetes.

“Those are ones that would complicate infections with teeth,” he added. “And infected teeth complicate medical problems.”

Too often, those with infected teeth go to emergency rooms seeking help, Medovic added. Not only can this be medically costly, but often medical professionals in emergency rooms don’t know how best to treat a medical problem.

photo by: Photo by Joselyn King

Dental assistant Christa Sligar, left, and Brittany Carter, a fourth year dental student at West Virginia University, provide dental work to a patient at Wheeling Health Right.

They proceed to prescribe narcotics or antibiotics, according to Medovic. These typically don’t help, and can lead to additional problems such as addiction, he said.

The clinic is open each week on Tuesdays and Wednesday, and sometimes Mondays or Thursdays depending on the availability of the WVU dental students, Medovic and Petrides said.

“Patients are comfortable coming here,” Medovic said. “It’s convenient for them. They can take a bus, or maybe they can walk. Often they don’t have a car.”

The medical and dental care they receive at Health Right often helps the patient to feel better about themselves, and maybe go back to work or get a job, he continued.

“And that’s pretty darn cool,” Medovic said. “This is a very neat place. I’m proud to be associated with it.”

photo by: Photo by Joselyn King

Dental assistant Christa Sligar, left, and Brittany Carter, a fourth year dental student at West Virginia University, provide dental work to a patient at Wheeling Health Right.

Tracy Kiaski, left, a registered dental hygienist, and Andrew Bishop, a fourth year dental student at West Virginia University, provide dental work to a patient at Wheeling Health Right.


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