February 4, 2019 Milwaukee, WI
Community Need and Impact
Dental pain is the leading cause of school absenteeism in America – with children missing more than 51 million hours of education each year. If children aren’t in school, they can’t learn.
In our community, more than 60,000 children live in poverty and lack access to basic dental care. These children are at high risk for tooth decay, infection, and dental pain that keeps them out of school. Some children come to school exhausted and in pain, so they, too, miss out on education.
Research has shown a clear link between oral health and systemic (overall) health. We know that people with poor oral health are at higher risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. Giving children proper oral health education at a young age contributes to healthier habits as they get older.
We respond through Smart Smiles, which provides preventive care and identifies children in need. We provide screening right to children in right in their own schools. In 2017-2018, Smart Smiles served 11,452 children in 77 schools. Follow up care was provided by Ascension Seton Mobile Dental Clinic.
Ascension Seton Mobile Dental Clinic Impact in its First Year: 2017-2018
Introduced in October of 2017, and run through April, the Ascension Seton Mobile Dental Clinic delivered restorative care to 741 children at seven schools, whose needs were identified through the Smart Smiles program. The Clinic hopes to address the needs of 1,000 children in 2019 and 2018-2019 will be the first full school year of the program.
The Ascension Seton Mobile Dental Clinic provided 1,333 dental appointments and 3,364 dental procedures: 1,735 diagnostic procedures, 906 preventative procedures, 596 restorative procedures, and 127 oral surgery procedures. The care was worth $255,604.
Of the 741 children, 580 received a comprehensive oral exam and 95 complete their care – 95 children restored to full oral health, with no cavities.
As we continue to increase access to the Ascension Seton Mobile Dental Clinic, we have identified an opportunity to improve return rates of student dental consent forms at participating schools. We are currently working on strategies for improvement.
Mobile Dental Clinic Significant Impact
There is always more to do to meet the great and growing need for vulnerable children to receive dental care. The Ascension Seton Dental Mobile Clinic is committed to expanding services to meet this need. Donor support is more important than ever.