Amaus Health Services, an all-volunteer outreach of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Syracuse, has been providing free primary healthcare to poor and underserved patients since 2007 — and now it is offering free dental care as well.
Officially opened in late July, Amaus’ dental clinic provides basic dental services, such as cleanings, fillings and extractions, for adult patients who are uninsured or underinsured.
“People of limited means generally suffer from lack of dental care” because they don’t have dental insurance or because they can’t afford procedures not covered by the dental insurance they have, said Dr. Lynn-Beth Satterly, medical director of Amaus. And in addition to poor oral health itself, “if you have poorly maintained teeth, you’re at risk for all kinds of bad outcomes from other chronic diseases,” such as heart disease and diabetes, she noted.
Dr. Satterly had long wanted to offer dental services at Amaus. “When we [Amaus] opened in 2007, we knew through both empirical research and prayer that dental [care] was needed as much as medical [care]. But we didn’t at that point have the resources or the knowhow to open a dental clinic,” she said.
Over the last seven years, as Amaus’ team of volunteer physicians, nurses and healthcare providers grew to serve some 350 to 500 individual patients annually, Dr. Satterly “put out feelers” to dentists who might be interested in volunteering their services.