La Feria News

Harlingen Family Dentistry shuts its doors due to pandemic

Valley Family Dentistry staff take care of a patient during a recent emergency appointment. Photo: Tony Vindell / LFN

By TONY VINDELL
LFN

Anyone needing regular services at one of the Rio Grande Valley’s largest dental clinics will have to wait for at least one month.

Harlingen Family Dentistry, a company with about a half dozen branches in the region, is now closed for such services as teeth cleaning, check-ups and for walk-ins, but it will take clients needing emergency care.

The business is complying with an executive order issued by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott that calls for closing a number of health businesses until April 21 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Failure to do so is punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000, jail time of up to 180 days, or both.

The order requires all Texas-licensed health care professionals to postpone all medical procedures, including dental, that are not medically necessary until midnight April 21.

On Monday, March 23, the usually super busy VFD was all but empty.
Only clients needing emergency care services were allowed to go into the clinic.

Vivian A. Teegardin, a dentist in charge of the operation following the death of its founder Dr. Juan Villarreal, said they have shut down all their clinics Valleywide.

“We were planning to close for several days in April,” she said. “But now we are closing for a whole month.”

Teegardin said they are operating with a skeleton crew, including one dentist and several office employees.

She also said it’s better to take care of some emergency cases at their clinics than to have more people going to area hospitals at this critical time

VFD has six satellite clinics in the Valley. They are in Brownsville, McAllen, Raymondville, Weslaco, Pharr and Edinburg.

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