Brightening Smiles: Clark Hosts Eleventh Annual Free Children’s Health Day

Clark dental student Geneve Settle practices dental work on fellow student, Madelyn Wooley. (Cameron Ridenhour/The Independent)

Clark’s dental hygiene clinic has a history of community outreach that keeps the county smiling, and dental students help keep it that way.

The clinic will host a free children’s dental health day in the dental hygiene building on the north end of campus from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Feb. 3. Dental students will provide cleanings, X-rays, sealants, fluoride and select emergency treatments to anyone under 18.

The public event, which is in its 11th year, benefits families who cannot afford regular dental care, according to dental hygiene instructor Becky Herman. The clinic serves around 200 kids annually, with all of the marketing and services done by students.

“It’s a great opportunity to treat a number of children because we don’t see a whole lot of children in the clinic.” Herman said.

Michelle Pritchard, a second-year student in the dental hygiene program, has served around 11 patients while working at the regular clinic. Pritchard says she hopes to reach children whose insurance plans don’t provide full coverage.

Hygiene Program Director Kristi Taylor says the free dental care day was originally a collaboration with the Clark County Dental Society, the Skill Center and the Free Clinic. Taylor said the clinic used to focus on problems like dental filling and extractions, but has become a preventative care dental day that includes sealants and teeth cleanings and gives children the opportunity to learn how to care for their teeth.

“The idea was to get as many children’s dental needs met as possible in one day,” Taylor said.

The students who work at the clinic are responsible for finding and serving their own patients, according to Herman, and students do their own marketing through word of mouth and referrals. The year-round clinic has over 1,500 patients that come from all over Clark County, Portland and Seattle.

Patients can either walk in or schedule an appointment by calling (360) 992-2158.

 

DID YOU KNOW?
Clark’s Dental Program Provides:

  • Cleanings $45-$80
  • X-Rays $5-$30
  • Sealants $5 per tooth
  • Fillings (Amalgam & Composite)
    $25-$45
  • Dental Exams, Flouride Treatments,
    and Nutritional Counseling are free
    with any treatment.

(Information provided by the clinic’s webpage)

 

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