Children’s oral health is a critical component of public health as it can have long-lasting effects on a child’s overall health and well-being. Despite the importance of children’s oral health, access to dental care remains a significant issue, particularly for low-income families and those living in underserved communities. Dr. Pujitha Siddani has dedicated her career to improving access to dental care and promoting good oral health practices in children. As a trained dentist in both India and the United States, Dr. Siddani has made a significant impact in increasing access to dental care for those who would not have been able to afford it otherwise.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Dr. Siddani’s public health efforts and why her work is so essential in the dental industry.
Dental public health efforts are particularly important in underserved communities because oral health is often overlooked as part of overall healthcare. In underserved communities, oral health problems are often exacerbated due to limited access to dental care and a lack of resources to address these issues. Dr. Siddani’s dental public health efforts for underserved communities began in India. During her training years, she conducted and attended several oral health camps in rural parts of India. These camps aimed to increase oral health awareness and provide no-cost dental treatment.
As a volunteer, Dr. Siddani developed a large-scale oral health program to address the overlooked dental needs of several children in orphanages managed by a non-profit organization in India. She quickly understood the importance of grants, funding, management, and even overcoming barriers such as transportation to ensure the success of a dental health program. This experience pushed Dr. Siddani to pursue further education in the US to become a pediatric dentist competent in public health with the goal of improving oral health outcomes for children from underserved communities.
As a dentist with public health training in the US, Dr. Siddani began engaging in advocacy and policy change efforts that are critical to the field of children’s oral health. She utilized advocacy efforts to raise awareness about the importance of oral health and highlight the key role of school-based health centers in addressing oral health inequities. Dr. Siddani’s advocacy of mandatory annual dental screenings in California assisted in delivering dental services through school-based health centers to countless students in Los Angeles county. She also helped organize several sealant and fluoride events through local elementary schools and continued to support policies that promote community water fluoridation. The advocacy and policy change efforts championed by Dr. Siddani prioritize the needs of underserved populations and create resources necessary to overcome systemic barriers to dental care.
In addition to her work in public health, Dr. Siddani is also a strong advocate for patient education. She believes that educating her young patients on the importance of oral health is key to promoting good dental habits and preventing oral health problems. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Siddani did not hesitate to put herself on the front lines. She worked as a children’s dentist in rural Colorado, ensuring that dental care remained accessible to children even during the pandemic. Her dedication and commitment to public health efforts during such a challenging time earned her the title of Emerging Leader in Public Health from the Colorado Public Health Association.
Dr. Siddani’s work during the pandemic highlights the importance of dental care and how essential it is to have dentists like her who are willing to put their patients’ needs first.
In conclusion, Dr. Pujitha Siddani is a true champion for children’s oral health. Her work in India and the US underscores the vital role that dentists play in promoting public health and the need to increase access to dental care for underserved communities. Dr. Siddani’s dedication to improving access to dental care and promoting public health initiatives has made a significant impact on the communities she serves. Her expertise in pediatric dentistry and strong background in public health make her a valuable asset to the dental profession. Dr. Siddani’s passion and unwavering commitment to her patients and the dental profession are truly inspiring.
We look forward to seeing her continue to make significant contributions to the field of dentistry and public health.
MORE ABOUT DR. SIDDANI
Pujitha Siddani graduated from the professional program for international dentists at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She is a member of the UCLA Epsilon Zeta Chapter of the Omicron Kappa Upsilon National Dental Honor Society. Pujitha earned her master’s degree in public health from CSUN. She practiced as a general dentist at a private practice in rural Colorado that provides services to pediatric patients.
Pujitha is currently a resident in the pediatric dentistry program at Temple University Hospital.
Pujitha is passionate about advocacy to improve children’s oral health.