Eastern Aleutian Tribes’ Dental Program provides services in all of our communities. Services provided include examinations, emergency treatment, preventative services (cleanings, sealants, and fluoride application), extractions, root canals, full and partial dentures, crowns, and bridges. Eastern Aleutian Tribes is among the first regional corporations to provide complete dental services to all their community members regardless of ability to pay.
In the past, dental services were only available when a dentist from Southcentral Foundation flew to some of the villages to conduct a dental clinic, often only once a year, and only for Indian Health Services (IHS) beneficiaries or only for children. If the weather turned bad, the schedule would be completely disrupted. Long term lack of access to professional dental care has been a major contributor to Alaska Natives having the highest rate of tooth decay of any population group in the nation. Tooth decay and gum disease has been linked to prenatal issues, diabetes, and heart disease.
EAT dentist Dr. Michael Costa, dental health aide therapist (DHAT) Shonna Wheeler, and the two dental assistants, Kathy Bear and Gaby Costa, work six weeks on and three weeks to serve the region.
Dr. Costa served as the director of La Clinica’s dental program in Medford, Oregon for seven years. Prior to that, he was a registered nurse for 15 years. He earned his DDS degree from the Loma Linda University School of Dentistry. Dr. Costa can diagnose and treat dental diseases, fill teeth, make crowns, perform root canals, remove teeth, and perform surgical procedures.
Shonna Wheeler graduated from the DHAT program in June 2017 and is now stationed in King Cove. Shonna travels throughout the region providing dental care.