Lonely? Anxious? Depressed? Maybe Your Dentist Can Help

Dr. Huong Le spends an average of 45 minutes with each of her dental patients during their visits, so she gets to know them well, especially the older ones who come in more than twice a year.

She hears about their families, stories from their home countries and, often, how lonely they feel. More than once, Le and her staff at Asian Health Services have heard their patients express suicidal thoughts.

This prompted Le, a dentist of more than 30 years, to respond to her patients’ cries for help. Her dental clinic, near Oakland’s Chinatown, started depression screening for patients 65 and older in 2017.

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