The dental clinic for the disabled was suggested by an expert and reviewed by the Seocho-gu Community Health Center, and its implementation plan was established in May 1996. In July of the same year, Seocho-gu Council secured the required budget and the volunteer group of professional dentists was composed. Finally, on September 23, 1996, the dental clinic for the disabled was opened for the first time in Korea on the first floor of the Health Center.
What is all the more meaningful is that thanks to the medical group of volunteer workers, the clinic can be operated on an annual material expense of 5 million KRW. Famous Korean singer Taiji Seo donated 10 million KRW for the purchase of medical equipment and 'Guwahata Tsuneyaki' a member of the International Dentists Association, donated 100,000 Yen.
At the beginning in 1996 treatment services included amalgam restoration, tooth extraction, periodontal disease treatment and scaling and were offeredon every Tuesday and Thursday.
Beginning in 1997, the number of days for treatment increased from 2 to 3, and, in 1998, prosthetic treatment and basic dental treatment were introduced. In 1999, the number of treatment days was increased to 6 days a week.
In early 2003, the implant treatment, the latest dental treatment to implant teeth for severely disabled low-income people, was started, establishing itself as a dental clinic for the disabled.
It began with 10 types of treatment equipment for the disabled including 2 dental unit chairs for the disabled, a blood pressure unit and pulse measuring equipment for general anesthesia and an ultrasonic scaler in 1996.
But, it has been equipped with Pos Vision through which a patient’s guardian can observe the treatment procedure, a respiratory anesthesia system and a vehicle equipped with a wheelchair lift in 2000, implant equipment in 2002 and a panorama x-ray in 2003.
The fifth-elected mayor, Ik-Cheol Jin puts forth a lot of effort to expand equipment for the disabled to get the best treatment. He purchased digital x-ray equipment by utilizing the incentive budget, which was received through the Seoul Health Center Incentive Project Evaluation in 2010.
The number of patients was 116 in 1996, 1,158 in 1997 and 1,375 in 2005 and totaled 21,734 as of November 30, 2010.
The users came more from other districts and other cities (58.3%) than from Seocho-gu (41.7%), which demonstrates that the dental clinic for the disabled project is not only for the severely disabled in Seocho-gu but also for the severely disabled from other areas. A continuous increase in the number of users is indicative of increasing satisfaction and confidence in the professional services offered at the clinic.
At a meeting commemorating the 14th anniversary of the opening of the Seocho-gu Dental Clinic for the Disabled in September, 2010, the fifth-elected mayor of Seocho-gu, Ik-Cheol Jin, asked for continuing efforts in promoting the first clinic for the disabled in cooperation with professional volunteers not only in Korea but also around the world and bought medical malpractice liability insurance for the volunteer dentists in order to enable them to treat the disabled without the fear of being sued.