Islanders unable to afford dental care can receive it for free thanks to the local nonprofit Fish for Teeth from Thursday, Oct. 4 – Saturday, Oct. 6. On Thursday, the van will be located at the Lopez Center for Community and Arts and on Friday and Saturday, it will be parked at the Mullis Community Senior Center on San Juan.
“Many volunteers and local businesses work as a team to bring this service to those who cannot otherwise afford dental care,” said Fish for Teeth Founder Matt Marinkovich, a San Juan Island commercial fisherman.
Fish for Teeth sponsors a mobile dental van for dental clinics in the San Juan Islands, three times a year. The Medical Teams International’s van can handle dental hygiene appointments to root canals.
Patients are seen by appointment only. Pick up applications at the San Juan Island Family Resource Center, the Lopez Family Resource Center or the county health department. They can also be download at www.fishforteeth.com. Those on San Juan can submit applications to the San Juan County Health Department on Rhone Street, while Lopez patients can turn them into the island’s resource center at 160 Village Road. Volunteers, not the county health department employees, determine scheduling before the clinic, based on severity and space.
To raise funds for the van, Fish for Teeth volunteers will sell fish tacos at 11 a.m., Friday, Oct. 5 outside the San Juan Island Community Theatre Box Office until they sell out. Tacos, which are as large as burritos, are made with Alaskan rockfish harvest and topped with Pablitos Salsa, Tillamook cheese, fresh greens, and a squeeze of lime. Volunteers ask for a donation of $8 per taco.
Marinkovich formed Fish for Teeth in 2007, after noticing a community need for affordable dental care. The Fish for Teeth board, comprised of local fishermen and dental professionals, sponsors the mobile dental clinic every January, May and October on San Juan Island. Fish for Teeth receives no federal funding and relies solely on donations, which are tax-deductible.