Dentistry practice provides free treatment at shelter

Dr. Liz Montero and her dental staff gave 10 children and nine women staying at a crisis center one less thing to worry about Saturday.

Victoria Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics treated women and children staying at the Mid-Coast Family Services Women's Crisis Center for free. Montero and other workers provided 19 dental exams, 18 fluoride varnishes, 17 cleanings and 46 sealants at the center.

The dental volunteer day was a first for the practice, but Montero has been volunteering individually for about seven years.

"It's important to give back to our community," she said, adding that she's noticed a need for dental care among children who are from a certain socioeconomic background. "We think this will help bridge the gap."

Helping people at the shelter and others who are less fortunate financially with dental care and information is rewarding, Montero said.

"I feel it is our responsibility to not only treat patients but educate them," she said.

With offices in Victoria and San Antonio, Mid-Coast Family Services, a nonprofit organization, helps "individuals and families by eliminating family violence, homelessness and substance abuse," according to the group's website.

Once an individual or family goes to a shelter, they're placed with an advocate who will help them find a permanent home. Montero is working with advocates to find dental insurance for the women and children who stay at the shelter.