November 9, 2010
On Sept. 25, KJCT Channel 8 reported that an estimated 200 people in Grand Junction got a free appointment with one of three local dentists. Dr. Julie Gillis, Dr. Duane Weenig and Dr. Kenneth Perino teamed up to hold a free clinic for people who couldn’t afford dental care. Patients received treatments ranging from cleanings and cancer screenings to fillings and extractions.
In the Oct. 4 issue of ADA News, Dr. Brett Kessler was highlighted in their story, “State dental associations offer variety of wellness resources.” Many state dental associations have wellness committees dedicated to finding dentists the help and treatment they need. Dr. Kessler was quoted, “If you’re trying to treat an addiction on your own, there’s about a 3% chance that you’ll be successful, but when you go through a diversion program, the success rate is upwards of 85%.” In Colorado, concerned colleagues, family members or friends can contact Concerned Colorado Dentists to report a dentist who needs help. The group sets up an intervention in an attempt to get the dentist into a treatment program without involving the Colorado State Board of Dental Examiners. The Board, however, provides its own help through the Dentist Peer Health Assistance Program, which is available to all licensed Colorado dentists who have physical, emotional, psychological or substance abuse problems. The Board’s program is confidential and anonymous unless the dentist is referred by the Board, there has been a violation of the Dental Practice Act related to substance abuse or addiction, or the dentist does not comply with the Dentist Rehabilitation Contract (an agreement between the dentist and the peer assistance program that outlines what the dentist needs to do to ensure his/her wellness).