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 I.H.S. 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 has a dentist, working six weeks on and three weeks off along with our dental health aide therapists (DHAT) to serve our region. Dr. Michael Costa and Shonna Wheeler DHAT, Gabby Costa and Kathy Bear, Dental Assistants, make up our Dental Team. Gabby Costa, and Kathy Bear also work a schedule of six weeks on and three weeks off with Dr. Costa.
Our Dentist, Dr. Michael Costa, served as Director of La Clinica’s dental program in Medford, Oregon for seven years, and was a registered nurse for 15 years prior to that position. 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 the Dental Health Aide Therapist (DHAT) program in June 2017 and is now stationed in King Cove. Under the supervision of Dr. Costa until she gets certified, Shonna can provide dental care. Shonna has been traveling to all the sites with Dr. Costa and Gaby and soon will be a certified DHAT.