Lucy Angulo, RDHAP, a mobile hygienist at Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center. Courtesy photo
Lucy Angulo, RDHAP, a mobile hygienist at Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center. Courtesy photo

Senior Dental Center: Leading the way in senior oral healthcare

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Oral health impacts overall health for all ages, especially older adults. Individuals with chronic health conditions like heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and cancer are at higher risk of periodontal disease. If diagnosed early, patients can avoid the negative effects of pain, inflammation, bad breath, difficulty chewing, and tooth loss.

For these reasons, it is important for seniors to see a dentist at least twice a year to ensure that their mouth is healthy. Routine checkups and cleanings help spot cavities and prevent the progression of potential problems. However, in spite of the urgent need for consistent dental care as we age, many seniors forgo semiannual exams due to mobility and transportation issues. Consequently, necessary treatments are often overlooked as some older adults are unable to access a traditional dental office.

The primary goal of the Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center is to restore and empower seniors to care for and maintain their oral health. The Senior Dental Center uses a combination of both education and preventative dental services to mitigate the progression of disease before it becomes more painful, complicated and costly.

On average, providing oral healthcare for older adults requires more time and attention due to visual and hearing barriers, reduced mobility, and memory issues, among other factors. Moreover, seniors often require additional reassurance and communication around their immediate personal issues. It has been shown, that a highly empathetic approach is beneficial in making this process as efficient as possible. Establishing trust with the patient reduces anxiety and improves final treatment outcomes. The team at the Senior Dental Center is highly trained in providing age-specific oral healthcare to seniors.

Patient happy with new dentures at Senior Dental Care. Courtesy photo
Patient happy with new dentures at Senior Dental Care. Courtesy photo


The Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center is located inside an active senior facility that hundreds of seniors visit daily. This co-location significantly lowers the barriers of access to care as it was designed specifically for older adults. For those seniors who cannot make it to the center, they offer the option of Mobile Oral Hygiene Services. The mobile team features a resident Registered Dental Hygienist in Alternative Practice (RDHAP), Lucy Angulo, who has over 20 years of experience in the dental field and understands the importance of access to oral healthcare and prevention.

By bringing these essential services directly to homes, institutions, residence and skilled nursing facilities, she helps maintain healthy smiles, decreasing the risk of her patients developing more serious health conditions, often associated with poor oral health. Mobile services featured through her care include oral cancer assessment, dental cleanings, fluoride varnish and in some specific cases teeth whitening.

When a person can no longer eat, speak or even smile, a slow deterioration and isolation process begins, and the attention to physical wellbeing starts to diminish. A loving grandparent with poor oral heath starts talking, eating and smiling less, often leading to slower mental function and a poor quality of life.  Older adults deserve to thrive wherever they are living. To help with this the Senior Dental Center offers alternatives for the role that oral health and aging play in the lives of their patients.

By providing accessible oral healthcare of the highest quality, the center seeks to enhance the quality of life for North County seniors. Even without insurance, patients can receive preventive care with discounted plans. Payment plans and alternative options are offered for qualifying patients to ensure that all seniors can find treatment that meets their budget.

Dr. Karen Becerra-Penagos, DDS, MPH, CEO/Dental Director of the centers says, “We are doing everything we can to make life better for seniors in the communities we serve through on-site and mobile services.”

The Senior Dental Center’s qualified team provides specialized services and have become a beacon of hope for seniors in our community, restoring their ability to eat, speak and smile with dignity as they continue aging.

To schedule an appointment at the Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center of North County call 760-280-2270. They are located at 1706 Descanso Ave. Suite A in San Marcos, California.  You can also request an appointment by visiting

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