West LA College offering free dental work for volunteers

Experts say good dental hygiene is good for your overall health. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford it.

However, that's where West Los Angeles College holds its free clinic, where Christina Renteria is getting some work done.

“I'm trying to do a deep clean,” she said.

West Los Angeles is one of four California community colleges offering a bachelor's degree in dental hygiene. This is a four-year commitment. Many programs allow students to have some or all of their tuition waived.

Students Lesly Guzman and Elizabeth Ochoa are proud to provide free service to the community, even if you are not a student.

I do know dental care is a little difficult, especially at this time, because it's really expensive,” Ochoa said.

The school’s clinic offers dental cleanings, X-rays and other simple treatments—all supervised by professors.

“A lot of my family members don't have access to dental services because they don't have dental insurance,” Guzman said. “So, a lot of times, dentistry is seen as a privilege.”

Although the program is free, volunteer patients are needed. The best candidates are middle-aged people with some dental problems.

Patients won't receive a bill here, but they can get preventive care.

“Oral diseases and infections are related to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and respiratory disease,” said Professor Lisa Kambayashi, director of the program.

Christina has limited insurance coverage, so coming here would be helpful for both her and the students.

“I try to go to these places and the places I usually go to so I can balance the money in my pocket,” she said.

Whether it's physical health or overcoming academic challenges, it's important to address the root cause.

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