Nothing can prepare a person for being told that they need an organ transplant, but for the almost 115,000 Americans on the organ donor waiting list, it’s a frightening reality. With 95% of those waiting for a kidney or liver transplant, the future can seem quite uncertain.
For Gary Sigle, transplant administrator at St. John’s Transplant Center in Tulsa, Okla., giving those patients a fighting chance is what he and his team are all about.
Since opening in 1992, the St. John’s transplant program has grown from serving patients in Oklahoma to being a top-rated regional transplant center. St. John’s is one of only 30 kidney transplant programs in the United States and boasts best-in-class patient outcomes. While the average wait time on a kidney transplant is about a year and a half, St. John’s patients usually complete their treatment in closer to a year.
But in order to receive a kidney transplant, patients are required to stay as healthy as possible during their wait. A very important step in this process is a clean bill of health from their dentist, and that’s where Dental Depot comes in.
“Infection free is a big deal,” Gary said. “Part of the medications we have to put them on are immunosuppressants, so untreated infections in the mouth will just get worse.”
Patients who suffer from renal failure require special attention from dentists, not only because of the side-effects of their medications but also because of complications that may present themselves during treatment.
Dental Depot is proud to partner with St. John’s by providing dental exams at no cost to their patients to ensure they are infection free and can proceed with their transplant.
“It’s been a good thing, and is a very unique arrangement,” Gary said. “We only have it with Dental Depot because it requires a contract. I’ve had to help other local hospitals by sending their patients to Dental Depot.”
From their office at St. John’s, Gary’s team sets up appointments for their patients to be seen with us and even handles the billing to give patients one less thing to worry about.
All in all, Tulsa Dental Depots see about five St. John’s patients each month. And while all of our Tulsa offices participate in the partnership, it’s our newest office — Dental Depot Central Tulsa — that makes managing oral health even easier for St. John’s patients. This office is located at I-44 and Harvard Ave., just 10 minutes away from St. John’s.
Gary trusts his patients to our care, because well, he and his wife, Annette, have been our patients for 30 years! They started seeing our founder Dr. Glenn Ashmore at our original Oklahoma City office.
But the couple’s partnership with Dental Depot doesn’t stop there. When Annette started her own cleaning company, it was a no-brainer for us to bring them on to help care for our Depots. Annette’s company, Spic & Span, also is a proud sponsor of our annual day of giving, Dentistry From The Heart. They’ve donated snacks to keep our teams going strong, flowers and even provide our hosting offices with a free cleaning!
We’re so grateful for our friendship with St. John’s, Spic & Span and the Sigles, and the ability these partnerships have given us to care for more patients in their time of need.
If you or someone you know is in need of free dental care, please visit us on Sunday, October 14th from 1 to 5 p.m. for our Dentistry From The Heart event. During this event, we will be providing treatment to adults 18 and over on a first-come, first-serve basis to receive one of the following: one dental cleaning, one filling OR one extraction. For more information and reminders, follow our event on Facebook at Dental Depot OKC Metro or Dental Depot Tulsa Metro.