Redlands – Dental Center

A hygienist is seeing patients three days a week at the Redlands Assistance League’s dental clinic, thanks to a grant from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.  “This has freed up the dentist to see many more patients,” said Beverly Sessums, dental center chairwoman.  The dental facility provides low-cost dental care and oral hygiene services to low-income families who do not have insurance or other access to care, Sessums said. A basic screening appointment runs about $25.

The clinic got its start in 1947 as the Children’s Dental Center and became an Assistance League program in 1950. When the league’s building at 508 W. Colton Ave. was built in the 1960s, the dental center consisted of two chairs in a corner of the thrift shop. In 2008, a collaboration began with Loma Linda University School of Dentistry and a new five-chair clinic was established in a separate building behind the thrift shop.

It now serves about 2,000 patients per year and offers dental screenings for kindergarten students in the Redlands and Yucaipa-Calimesa school districts.

Dr. Stephanie Calvillio, a graduate of the Loma Linda University school, has been the clinic’s full-time dentist since 2012, running the clinic 4½ days a week. The newly hired hygienist is Kathryn Penaflorida-Chu.  League members Linda Rotondo and Rhea Waters, who are certified dental hygienists, help out on a volunteer basis.

The clinic offers basic dental services, as well as root canals, crowns, bridges and dentures.  Implants and orthodonture are not provided.

“A screening process determines eligibility for the clinic based on income and need,” said Leticia Cervantes, vice chairwoman of the dental center.  Many families are referred by local agencies or schools.

The clinic serves more adults than children and is the only Assistance League dental clinic in the country that serves adults, said Teresa Savage, incoming dental center chairwoman.  “This year we screened about 750 elementary school children,” she said.

Screenings included oral hygiene instruction to entire classes and visits to the clinic for those who had parents’ permissio