Peres Elementary Dental Clinic celebrates ‘Passing of the Toothbrush’

Dr. Dan Tanita (left) and Dr. Josh Rosales. (All pics by Kathy Chouteau)

By Kathy Chouteau

A “Passing of the Toothbrush” ceremony was celebrated Thursday at the absolutely free Dental Clinic that began in a janitor’s closet at Richmond’s Peres Elementary Faculty in 1997, as the clinic’s founding dentist, Dr. Dan Tanita, retires to Arizona and Dr. Josh Rosales takes the helm. The clinic, which has been closed for about three years as Dr. Tanita stepped back and the pandemic strike, also marked its reopening.

In the course of the years, Dr. Tanita volunteered his experience as soon as or 2 times per month at the Peres Dental Clinic, which now has a bigger and improved house due to the fact a school rework several years in the past. He just lately marketed his separate private practice—San Pablo Smiles—to Dr. Rosales, who will volunteer his services at the school’s clinic just like his predecessor.

Signing up for the two dentists for the ceremony have been associates of the Peres university local community, which include Vice Principal Colette West and teachers, as perfectly as members of the Rotary Club of Richmond, which includes Don Lau, Erle Brown, Darlene Drapkin and other Rotarians. Also on hand were being Dr. Tanita’s assistant of 27 many years, Charisse Le, and his daughter, Kimiko Tanita, who helped her father professionally.

In accordance to Dr. Tanita, who joined the Rotary the identical yr as Lau in 1984, the club has been supporting the Peres Dental Clinic with $500 in annual donations for quite a few many years. He noted that a lot of its supplies had been owing to the club’s generosity. Further more adhering to in his predecessor’s footsteps, Dr. Rosales now phone calls himself a Rotarian as effectively.

Setting up the ceremony, Lau referred to Dr. Tanita as “a authentic local community hero,” adding, “I really don’t assume there’s anyone in this community who has presented more…”

For his part, Dr. Tanita reported that he did not know considerably about Richmond when he arrived here 40 yrs back. “When I truly bought in this article and started out functioning below and built my livelihood right here, I uncovered it genuinely was a gem of a group,” he claimed. “The men and women who work listed here are the ones who are blessed sufficient to see what a wonderful metropolis it is.”

Dr. Tanita shared that, back in the day, Peres Elementary bought a Healthier Begin grant for $9,000, and after a study of mother and father disclosed they wanted dental care for their small children, they released the free of charge Dental Clinic in the janitor’s closet. He mentioned that doing work in the college and teaching the students about dental wellbeing “was a real opportunity for us.”   

The dentist would see 1 classroom per check out to the clinic and give an examination, cleaning, polish and sealant. Dr. Tanita explained the treatment was simple but manufactured “a life span of distinction in the kids’ overall health.” Afterwards he extra, “I’ve liked private exercise, but this [Peres Dental Clinic] is just one of my most loved group support dental plans that I have professional.” He thanked Peres Elementary, the Rotary and anyone who served make it doable.

Dr. Rosales expressed gratitude to Dr. Tanita “for sharing his know-how and expertise” and for “volunteering and delivering treatment for these young children that need and are entitled to the care…we recognize all the things that you do.”

He also presented updates on the newly reopened clinic, together with that the Henry Schein Cares Foundation gave it “an plentiful amount of money of supplies,” Contra Costa Well being Companies has provided it PPE provides and that they have related with XDR Dental Imaging, whose products will enable the clinic to take digital X-rays to provide comprehensive exams—to title a number of.

“It’s been pretty enjoyable to be component of this university and have the opportunity to introduce these young ones early to dentistry and oral health and fitness,” stated Dr. Rosales, who grew up domestically. “It’ll just guide to a superior in general wellbeing,” he mentioned, thanking everyone who aided reopen the clinic.

Dr. Rosales is at the moment looking for volunteer dentists and dental hygienists at the Peres Dental Clinic so that he can broaden the amount of times they are open at the faculty. All those fascinated can call him at [email protected].  

The ceremony finished with Dr. Tanita passing a large red toothbrush to Dr. Rosales, followed soon by a champagne toast and celebration among supporters.