Local Youth Given Free Oral Health Services in a Salute to National Children’s Dental Health Month, One Community Health and key partners teamed up for February’s Give Kids A Smile® event.

February event offered time and talent to address oral disease among disadvantaged teens.

HOOD RIVER, Ore., Feb. 24, 2016 — Thanks to a number of Hood River-based dental care providers and the National Dental Association (NDA), 16 local, underserved teenagers have just received free services, saving their families an estimated $10,000 in visit and treatment costs. In mid-February, One Community Health’s (OCH) Hood River location participated in the ADA Foundation’s annual Give Kids A Smile® program. Through this national initiative, three OCH dentists (Rebecca Flaiz, DDS, Greg Grossman, DDS, Maggie Anderson, DDS), three dental hygienists, and four support staff members gave an entire day’s worth of their time and talent. Together, they offered cleanings, x-rays, treatments, and expertise. All combined, they provided 22 restorative fillings and completed 38 sealants to improve the oral health of these patients. In addition, the nonprofit federally qualified health center referred one patient to root canal specialist Travis Chapman, DMD, of Waterfront Endodontics, who donated a root canal for a patient.

“It was very heartwarming to help these teens who needed dental care but, likely, would not have come to us without this complimentary program,” says Dr. Anderson. “Only two of our 16 patients were cavity-free, so almost 90 percent of these teens had a real need for the services and treatments. That’s significant and even indicative of a greater demand for quality, affordable dental care within our area.”

One of the key benefits for youth participating in Give Kids A Smile® is they then become established patients with their dental health care provider. All 16 of the patients seen at OCH can return for quality, affordable dental services. What’s more, these local teens have now joined the ranks of five million underserved youth who have received free oral health services over the past 13 years and can enjoy similar ongoing care, thanks to the program and those who offer it.

“Some of these teenagers are missing school or struggling to focus on their studies because of their dental disease and associated pain,” Dr. Anderson says. “Because of this program, this should no longer be an issue with these kids, so it contributes to an overall improvement in their quality of life. As providers, that’s an important goal for us to achieve—it’s the ‘why’ behind our reason for supporting this event.”

In addition to dental care, OCH offered free child wellness checkups as yet another way to reach out to the community and help establish new patient status for those in the underserved populations. Spearheaded by Brooke Nicholls, FNP-C, she saw seven teens that day from throughout the Columbia River Gorge region.

"Give Kids A Smile® was a super fun, engaging way to provide comprehensive care to teenagers,” Nicholls says. “This population is often lost to care because they feel well and have no immediate reason to visit a clinic. However, they’re experiencing many changes in their bodies and emotions, and most have questions or concerns if you give them a safe space for voicing them. I provided a lot of reassurance and education during these visits and tried to connect with these teens so they will feel comfortable coming back to me when they have other health needs in the future.” About One Community Health

One Community Health (OCH) is a nonprofit, federally qualified community and migrant health center with clinics in The Dalles and Hood River, Ore. Formerly known as La Clínica del Cariño Family Health Care Center, Inc., it was founded in 1986 and, today, has evolved into an official Patient-Centered Primary Care Home. Today, OCH provides services to over 10,000 patients and has served over 50,000 during its history. OCH has a special mission of outreach and service to migrant and seasonal farmworkers in its agricultural region. In addition, OCH excels in providing proactive and innovative health promotion programs that sustain its integrated, value-based approach to health and wellbeing. Dedicated to advancing health and social justice for all its community members, OCH serves patients from the Mid-Columbia River Gorge Region: Wasco, Hood River, Klickitat and Skamania Counties. For more information, click here or visit: http://www.onecommunityhealth.org/.

 

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Katie Roberts Communications Director (303) 709-2912 writerkatieroberts@gmail.com

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