Business

Mobile hygienist can clean teeth anywhere

Erin Pocuis cleans Bill Nickerson
Erin Pocuis cleans Bill Nickerson's teeth at his residence.
— image credit: Leslie Kelly

There’s no need to go without a dental cleaning anymore. Because now it will come to you.

It’s called Cascade Hygiene and it’s the brainchild of Erin Pocuis. Pocuis, a licensed dental hygienist, is offering the latest technology in a portable dental unit that has air, water, suction, ultrasonic scaling and polishing unit. She even brings the comfortable adjustable chair.

“It’s really a dental office on wheels,” Pocuis said. “And it’s all about being convenient.”

Pocuis has been a dental hygienist for more than 10 years. She is a graduate of Yakima Valley Community College where she earned her dental hygiene education. Prior to that, she attended the University of Washington and went to school in Australia.

“When I came home from Australia, I just really knew that I wanted to be in the dental field,” she said.

Following community college, she got married and moved to San Francisco, where her husband was attending chiropractic school. For a time, she worked in a dentist office in San Francisco. About five years ago, they decided to move back to Kitsap County.

“It was important to be back near family, so we moved to Bremerton,” said Pocuis, who grew up in Silverdale and is a 1999 graduate of Central Kitsap High School.

That was five years ago and now she is working at a Bremerton dental clinic three days a week.

And on the other days, she packs up her Aseptico mobile dental unit and takes her talent on the road, under the name of Cascade Hygiene. The idea came to her when she was cleaning her grandfather’s teeth.

“He was living in an alzheimer’s unit in a Silverdale care center and I went to him to clean his teeth,” she said. “I had invested in a mobile unit and I was taking care of him because I just knew his mouth wasn’t getting the care it needed.”

She explained that the staff there was great, but didn’t have the time to really care for patients’ teeth. So she decided that she could care for more than just her grandfather’s teeth. The first thing she did was purchase top of the line equipment.

“By state law, anyone who is licensed can work on patients in their homes or elsewhere, as long as there is a need for us to come to them,” Pocuis said. “The state wants us to work with the elderly or those who for some reason can’t get to the dentist’s office. And that’s the goal.”

In just the past few years, state law also allows dental hygienists to apply topical numbing agents when needed.

“That’s been so important because when I go out to see my patients, some of them request local anesthesia because even cleaning teeth can be painful for them,” she said.

Most of her patients come from referrals. She has visited senior living centers and nursing homes to let them know of her mobile dental services. Her charges depend on the amount of time she spends with a patient and generally range from $50 to $100 a visit. Visits range from an hour to two hours.

“With the elderly, many of them have partial dentures so it doesn’t take as long,” she said. “Every patient is different.”

Along with cleaning each patient’s teeth, she does an oral examination to detect any other issues including mouth cancers. If she sees a tooth that needs attention, or any other problems, she refers the patient to their dentist, or helps them find one. She works with her patients on tips for better oral care. And she gives dental hygiene talks at senior centers just to help seniors.

“A lot of the elderly have issues like sensitivity and dry mouth sometimes because of the medications they are on,” she said. “I see part of my job as helping them address these things so they are comfortable and healthy.”

A healthy mouth and healthy teeth can create better overall health, she said. And, she said, because she’s on her own time, she can take the time she needs, to visit with her patients.

“Working in somebody’s mouth is a fairly intimate thing,” she said. “I get to know my patients pretty well. We become friends.”

Pocuis has 40 to 50 patients that she visits on location every three to four months — some once or twice a year.

“It really varies,” she said. “Sometimes these patients haven’t seen a dentist in four or five years or more. They’re embarrassed. It just breaks my heart.”

As a Type A person, Pocuis said she wants to make every mouth the best it can be.

“When I first see them,  many of them won’t smile,” she said. “But after a cleaning, they are smiling and that’s just so rewarding. To be able to give someone back their smile, that’s a real gift.”

She wants her business to grow and hopes to reach out to youth and teens. To learn more, go to www.cascadehygiene.com, or call 360-362-0151.

 

 

 

 

 

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