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Sonrisas Newsletter | Summer 2020

Updated: Jul 9

Learn how we are reopening our clinics and serving our patients in challenging times!

Smile, You're on Camera! SDH Dental Hygienist Brenda Barrientos leads a Spanish-language Virtual Oral Health Education lesson for elementary school students during Distance Learning this spring.

A word from Tracey Carrillo Fecher, CEO

Before COVID-19, I pondered that I had not lived through a worldwide event that affected my everyday life. That is no longer the case. We hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy.

In March 2020, we were headed to the finish line of our fiscal year with more patient visits and oral health screening and education for children than ever. From July 2019 to February 2020, we had 7740 patient visits, a 6.4% increase from the same period the prior year.  During the mandatory closure from mid-March to late May, our clinical team developed innovative programs to support and engage our patients in their oral health.  Besides treating dental emergencies and preventing an estimated 2-3 emergency room visits per week, we reached over 700 patients to provide virtual oral health coaching through our Patient Outreach Program, in addition to offering virtual oral health education programming to dozens of schools.

Reopening our clinics with the realities of COVID-19 for a dental office has been an involved process, with safety of our patients and staff our number one priority.  It is wonderful to have patients back at our clinics, resuming full dental care for the most vulnerable in our community.

We had the pleasure of hosting a Virtual Paella cooking demonstration, celebrating the incredible support we receive from the community. I look forward to seeing you at our next event, whether it be virtual or in person!

Sonrisas’ recent Virtual Cook-Along: Paella was a lively and successful event! 

Cooking teams with chefs as young as age 8 joined from throughout the US for a cook-along led by Sonrisas Board Secretary Clyde Hinshelwood. Founding Board member Judy Macias, County Supervisor Don Horsley, and Sonrisas patient Ralph shared their personal connections to Sonrisas’ mission.


Together, with support from our event sponsors and donors, we were able to raise $11,315 to help provide dental care to the most vulnerable in San Mateo County. Thank you!




Torrey Rothstein, DDS

Dental Director

SDH’s Proactive Approachto Reopening Clinics 


“Sonrisas Dental Health is Now Open!”



I wasn’t yet part of the Sonrisas Team in 2001 when those words were first spoken, nor did I anticipate ever hearing that phrase with the word “Now” in it. But here we are, and I am proud to be a part of our “re-opening.”


Sonrisas has made many changes in Patient Management, to our facilities, our equipment considerations, and to our Administrative and Engineering controls, to help keep patients and staff safe from SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19. Changes range from obvious and observable changes include eliminating waiting rooms (thank you for waiting in your car), HEPA filtration units in each operatory, enhanced Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect patients and staff alike, to changes that may not be so obvious -- like HVAC/air flow improvements, a reduction in the number of appointments available daily to allow for physical distancing and enhanced cleaning, enhanced sanitation of non-clinical areas, to name a few.


The Sonrisas Dental Health Team takes everyone’s health and safety seriously as we navigate together through these ever-changing times. Patients have noticed that our level of PPE has increased. We made these changes through rigorous review and research of the most up-to-date, evidence-based information available through the CDC, OSHA, the American Dental Association and the California Dental Association (to name only a few organizations).


We appreciate the positive feedback we have received from patients regarding the efforts we have made to keep them safe and still make Sonrisas Dental Health a welcoming dental office for comprehensive oral health care.


Bonnie Jue, DDS

Community Engagement Director


Teledentistry Consultations and

Virtual Oral Health Education Program


Even while sheltered in place this past spring, Sonrisas Dental Health continued to care for our patients through video consultations for emergency and non-urgent dental needs.


Our dental providers served over 700 people with these “virtual dental appointments” and oral health coaching to address dental concerns and promote positive oral health and well-being.


Although schools were closed for our annual in-person dental screenings, Sonrisas’ team of educators taught children how to take care of their teeth via “live” Zoom presentations, and donated 1,150 toothbrush kits to dozens of schools and community-based organizations in partnership with the Peninsula Healthcare District and San Mateo County’s Oral Public Health Program. Sonrisas also created pre-recorded videos that the whole family can enjoy, because everyone can benefit from a reminder to brush and floss!


With summer upon us, Sonrisas is expanding our programs to help older adults and seniors get the dental care they need. We are offering senior discounts and a sliding fee scale, and will be working with local community groups to make it easier for seniors to access quality dental care.


If you’d like to support our community programs or partner with us, please contact Dr. Bonnie Jue - bonnie.jue@sonrisasdental.org


Photo: Toothbrush-To-Go!




Thank you to our generous funding partners!

With the support of our funding partners, event sponsors, and donors, Sonrisas Dental Health reaches more of the most vulnerable in San Mateo County to provide critical access to high-quality dental care and oral health education. Together, we are bringing healthier smiles to our San Mateo County neighbors!



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