Pearly Whites Getting Attention In Waveland - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

09/30/05

Pearly Whites Getting Attention In Waveland

The high tech x-ray machine shows Danielle Trotter needs two teeth pulled. Her dentist office in Biloxi is closed, so she came to Waveland to the clinic on wheels. 

"It's definitely a relief cause it's a dentist and there's no other dentists around. I mean they're just now opening dentist offices in Gulfport, we were told, but we've tried to call a couple and we haven't been able to get through to any."

Dr. James Tennyson heads up this team of dentists and assistants. Before Katrina hit, he was assigned to a South Dakota Indian reservation. Now his duty with the U.S. Public Health Service brings him to Mississippi's hardest hit county. 

"There's a lot of need here."  

That's why the staff puts in nine to ten hours, seven days a week. The patient load each day tops about 60, and those who can't get in, wait outside. With no dental services for miles, the doctors say people really need help. 

"A lot of people with bad toothaches. A lot of people that have big cavities and things like that. All the dentists in Waveland and Bay St. Louis, as far as I know, their offices are gone, completely gone. So we're fulfilling a need that nobody can supply right now," says Dr. Tennyson.

The dental office on wheels features the most modern quipment available to perform everything from a simple cleaning to a wisdom tooth extraction. 

"I'm going to be spoiled when I get back to South Dakota. I'll be wishing I had this equipment so it's really nice equipment," Tennyson says.

The American Dental Association teamed up with Henry Shine, a large health care products distributor, to bring the mobile clinic to Waveland.

byMarcia Hill

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