The Health Center is the only safety net dental practice on the Leeward Coast. In 2014 it served approximately 6,540 patients who account for 13,300 visits annually. About 80% of these visits are patients who are either uninsured or on Medicaid.
The department is located on the main campus in Waianae and consists of 9 operatories. It provides a full range of general dental practice services for patients of all ages including the oral health needs of children from 9 months to 18 years of age. Besides preventive and restorative care, the staff and pediatric providers are trained in nitrous oxide and oral sedation, emergency dental care, space maintenance, and minor interceptive orthodontics.
The Dental Department is actively involved with other organizations to improve health outcomes and service delivery in the community. For example, the offices are accredited by the American Dental Association Advanced Education General Dentistry (AEGD) and as a Pediatric Dental residency site of NYU Lutheran Medical Center. Each year, approximately five dentists are accepted to the Waianae site to exchange ideas and gain an appreciation for the concept of "E Ola kino Maika'i, Ku Kakou" to stand together for good health and quality of life. These types of partnerships, particularly in the area of pediatrics, have opened up access to care for children who were previously required to travel outside of the Leeward Coast for care.
A strong believer in prevention and education, the department is also an active partner with local organizations to address the high oral disease rate exhibited by the population. Since 2006, it has provided free screening, cleanings, fluoride, and oral health education at four elementary schools on the Waianae Coast. Supported solely by material donations contributed by partners such as the Hawaii Dental Service (HDS), Queen Lili'uokalani Foundation, and the Hawaii Dental Association (HDA), this program has made a difference in the lives of thousands of children since its inception.
In 2015, in collaboration with Kamaile Academy, a school based dental program that provides comprehensive examinations and preventive procedures to students was initiated thanks to startup funding from a City and County of Honolulu grant. By providing all of the services that a parent would expect at a dental checkup, the hope is that this added convenience will lead to more consistent, regular preventive care and improve attendance through better oral health.