“Teamwork makes the dream work.”
At Sonrisas Dental Health, we love that popular saying as it’s so true.
Running a successful dental clinic - especially a non-profit - requires skilled dentists, great team members and a ton of compassion. Everyone on staff knows that a visit to the dentist can make the difference between being in pain and being able to smile.
Yadira Torres, one of our longest serving team members in our Half Moon Bay (Coastside) clinic, is known for getting patients to smile. Yadira started working at Sonrisas in November 2001, just months after we opened our doors. Her sister Veronica Torres already worked here (and still does!) and encouraged Yadira to apply. (Yadira is pictured at right with Diane Grech.)
When Yadira joined Sonrisas, she sterilized equipment and cleaned rooms. Over the years, she learned a lot, studying and earning certification as a registered dental assistant (RDA). Dental assistants aid dentists with treatment procedures, ensure that patients are comfortable, take and process X-rays, and sterilize instruments and equipment.
“I worked very hard to get where I am,” Yadira says. And rather unexpectedly, she says, “I’ve fallen in love with dentistry.” While she wasn’t always confident in her English, she still managed to master complex dental terminology and she has tutored others. Every two years, she’s taken the required 25 hours of continuing education credits for RDAs.
Yadira has many fans. “It’s hard to put into words what makes Yadira special,” says Dr. Torrey Rothstein, our Coastside Center Dental Director. “She’s very competent in the clinic, a great team member and excellent at making people who walk in the door feel comfortable and taken care of.”
Time flies. Some of her patients came to Sonrisas as babies and they are now 17. Indeed, Yadira is well known as a representative of Sonrisas. When shopping at the grocery store, people would often greet her and even show her their teeth! “It seems like I know the whole town, almost,” says Yadira.
Of the many initiatives she worked on, her proudest was working with farmworkers through the Sonrisas mobile program in which we set up equipment on-site at Puente de la Costa Sur in Pescadero and other places close to where workers live. “Farmworkers work really hard, and it’s not always easy for them to get access to doctors and dentists,” she notes.
And, she adds, “I’m so proud we’re supporting them with excellent dental care.” Yadira also says, “I love to work with schoolchildren.” She advises all, no matter your age, to be sure to floss to help prevent getting cavities.
Yadira helped create the sense of team that makes Sonrisas such a success. Now she is moving on to Arizona to be closer to her family. We’re sad to see her go, and wish her well. Thank you, Yadira, for all your years of service!