Having a great smile makes a statement and Drs. Marlon and Kalisha Hanley love helping their patients do so. Dental health has often been the elephant in the room. Dental health is considered important but takes a backseat to medical issues. Yet without knowledge, most citizens do not recognize that dental issues can lead to other issues such as heart failure. The Hanleys have seen firsthand how limited dental access and knowledge creates problems with one’s oral health. “A lot of times in the black community, oral health becomes secondary. Often, the value of dental health has not been taught,” says Kalisha.
Dental needs are the same from state to state, but access to the care is not. When asked what the biggest change in practicing in Louisiana was, Dr. Kalisha Hanley immediately responded, “The Medicaid coverage.” She then explains, “We take pride in providing a service to all patients, especially the underserved. In Washington D.C., the Medicaid program covers extensive restorative procedures that results in patients having more opportunities to save their teeth. For example, instead of pulling a tooth with a large cavity that cannot be simply filled, I can save it with a root canal or crown at no cost to the patient. However, in Louisiana, the typical Medicaid program covers cleanings, fillings, and extractions. Many times, the procedures to prevent a patient from having to lose his or her teeth are not covered.” After nodding in agreement, Marlon exclaims, “But my wife and I feel that one basic way to combat this is by establishing patient education.”
Dr. Kalisha Hanley is a native of Monroe, LA and a second generation dentist. She graduated from Xavier University of Louisiana with her Bachelor of Science and then Howard University College of Dentistry with her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. Dr. Marlon Hanley is a native of Northwest Indiana and graduated from the University of Tampa with his Bachelor of Science, Barry University with his Master of Science, and Howard University College of Dentistry for his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. Marlon and Kalisha met at Howard University, later married and had a daughter named Karsyn, and lived in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. When they decided to have a family, they purchased an office, Affordable Dentures and Implants, and relocated to Houma, LA. When asked what they plan to bring to the community of Houma, they answered, “To empower the youth by being a visible and positive role model and providing a great service to the community.” This power couple managed to conquer some of life’s greatest challenges together while pursuing their dreams. The Hanleys are a great example of how teamwork makes the dream work! It’s time to give a shout out to the professionals who work hard and are often overlooked. Let’s smile vividly and give props to the dentist.