Brett Larson Staff Writer
Clinics in all three districts have had regular dental service since the arrival of doctors Ravi and Preeti Gupta last February.
The India natives moved to the U.S. in 2011 to seek the best possible education for their two sons, and after living in the Twin Cities area for three years, they were ready for a change. “We wanted to get away from the Cities,” said Ravi. “It seems too crowded as you get older, and we had heard that the Mille Lacs Band clinics were well managed, and they were in need.”
Both Ravi and Preeti practiced dentistry in India. Ravi was trained in general dentistry as well as orthodontics in Mumbai and Chennai — two of the country’s biggest cities.
Preeti was from a smaller town, but studied in Mumbai, and is accustomed to a rural environment. She says small- town dentistry is much different in the U.S. than in India, where small towns often don’t have access to the same facilities for care.
Upon arriving in the U.S., Ravi chose the path to direct li- censure as a General Dentist, whereas Preeti decided to at- tend the U of M’s dental school and graduated last year, “with distinction, don’t forget,” Ravi added “in a class of 109.”
Ravi and Preeti rave about the facilities at Ne-Ia-Shing Clinic. “The building is older, which might convey the impression that we have older equipment,” said Ravi, “but this is not like a community clinic. We are equipped like a private clinic, with all the most up-to-date technology such as a CBCT (3D X rays), Dental Operating Microscope, and Lasers.”
Because the clinic is so well equipped and because both doctors have such broad skills, they are able to complete most care in house, making it convenient for Band members.
Both doctors are accustomed to working with diverse populations. India has many different ethnic and linguistic groups, and they also worked with immigrant populations in the Twin Cities who had little experience with dentistry. “The most important thing is empathy,” said Preeti. “I think we can relate to people.”
They also work hard to make a visit to the dentist as comfortable as possible. “Going to the dentist is not the moment anyone is waiting for,” said Ravi. “But we both have experience working with patients with anxiety, as well as children and those with special needs.”
The doctors caution that lack of fluoride in the water can be a concern in Mille Lacs Band communities, so Band members should come in for preventive treatments. The Guptas have also seen the effects of inconsistent staffing at the clinics, which has resulted in some Band members missing checkups and cleanings.
“We encourage people to put aside their fears and give it a try,” said Ravi. “You can’t undo time, but when something needs to be fixed, it needs to be fixed. We are not judgmental. We are here to serve.”
“We are very happy to be here,” said Preeti. “It’s a good t. We’ve been to many places in India and here in the U.S., but this place is special.”