FEDERAL WAY, Wash. -- When you go to the dentist, an exam can cost hundreds of dollars. That's a hard-to-swallow price tag if you don't have insurance.
"Instead of every six months, maybe they're choosing to come in every nine months or a year," said Dr. Van Vuong, a Federal Way dentist. "And then of course, what we're seeing is that they're dealing the treatment that is needed."
Dr. Vuong said he sees it happen more and more often, and the patient's oral health rapidly declines.
"So six months down the road, instead of spending a couple hundred dollars on a filling, it's a couple thousand dollars because now the tooth needs a root canal and a crown," he said
So for the month of September, Vuong's practice is giving $39 checkups to those who no longer have dental coverage because of job loss.
But it doesn't stop there.
During the Tacoma teacher strike, Vuong was saddened to hear how some kids who rely on the free-lunch program were going without food. It was so troubling, he decided to donate all the proceeds of the exams to help stock the food bank at Federal Way's Multi-Service Center.
"He's doing such a great thing," said Dini Duclos, the center's executive director. "Helping people get dental care and donating the money to us."
His patients are also impressed. Xiomara Leon says she has insurance now, but can relate to those without it.
"Sometimes we had to wait to get some more money," said Leon. "Or say 'No, I can't.'"
Vuong said 25 patients have taken him up on the discounted exams. The promotion goes to the end of September, but he plans to offer it again in the future.