February is National Children’s Dental Health Month and MCHC’s dental team is all-in! Community education and dental treatment for kids in need are wrapped into this month’s campaign. In fact, education and treatment for kids are integral to everyday life in our dental department. MCHC‘s, Lakeview Health Center has set aside the first Friday in February for children who MCHC dental staff screened and Healthy Start selects as needing immediate, vital, and free treatment. Leading up to this “Give Kids a Smile” event over 230 children attending Lake County schools received a free dental screening, which occurred on school campuses at Upper Lake Elementary, Upper Lake Middle School, and Lucerne Elementary School.
The children served during the annual Give Kids a Smile event, who are not MCHC patients, would not otherwise qualify for dental insurance, and do not have the financial means to pay for care. MCHC removes the financial barriers to a healthy smile, by providing care on this day free of charge. MCHC’s dentist, Dr. Jenkins, who has worked for MCHC in Lake County for twenty-one years, is the dentist who will be providing this care on February 4th.
Kristian Valencia, lead Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) at Lakeview Health Center is the MCHC team member who liaisons with Heathy Start in the coordination of these important screening events, where a Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) conducts visual exams and notes areas of decay, infection and the need for sealants. “If no follow-up dental work is needed, then we simply encourage the parents/guardians to continue with their follow-up routine checkups and cleanings,” says Kristian.
Healthy Start personnel, who are embedded on school campuses in Lake County, ensure that students who have been identified as in need of immediate care receive the support needed to obtain treatment. This support often comes in the form of transportation to and from Lakeview Health Center’s dental department.
Dr. Navneet Mansukhani, the Clinical Director of MCHC’s dental department states, “Our school-based oral health screening program is made possible by our community partners, the Lake County schools and the Healthy Start Program, which has personnel embedded on the school campuses. These relationships have been vital in the success of the Give Kids a Smile event, despite the Covid turmoil and we are so grateful for their support.”
MCHC’s dental care for kids is focused on prevention with regular cleanings, education, and when needed, sealants, as well as treatment for gum disease and tooth decay. We do not provide emergency dental care and all our care is provided nitrous oxide-free, for kids who are able and willing to have treatment without sedation. In 2021 our dental team conducted 26,750 patient visits, 37% of which were kids. These dental services were provided at three of our sites including Hillside, Little Lake and Lakeview Health Centers. Our dentists are all general dentists, who treat adult and/or pediatric patients.
MCHC’s Chief Executive Officer, Scott McFarland states, “I am extremely proud of the excellent care that our dental team provides and appreciate our focus on care for the most vulnerable children in our community. MCHC is grateful for the tremendous support from our longstanding community partners, Healthy Start.”