Dr. Matthews would be the first to tell you, preventative maintenance of your children’s teeth is the number one way to ensure better dental and overall health of your child and less costly cosmetic repair work later. Do you remember an article we wrote a few months back about the “Tooth Taxi?” Basically, it was about a traveling bus going to schools and providing cost-free dental care to school children all over Oregon. It’s funded by donations and has been running strong since 2008. Well, if that didn’t reaffirm any faith you may have lost in humanity, this will.
In a county in West Virginia, Fayette to be exact, kids in eight different school districts now have dental health care at school. Not a bus or a visiting dentist, but a dental health care facility sitting just yards away from the school buildings themselves.
Many Thanks to:
This is all thanks to the New River Health Association, a federally qualified health center that began offering basic health care in schools almost 20 years ago and is run by their current CEO, John Shultz.
Now, as before with the Tooth Taxi, you’re probably asking yourself who is paying for all this. Well, New River applied for and was then awarded $500,000 through the Affordable Health Care Act or Obamacare, and about $190,000 of that was put into purchasing the site, construction and then purchasing the equipment. The remaining funds went toward equipment in New River’s eight other sites.
The new center will offer primary care, dental care, mental health services, and health education for the children whose parents register them for participation.
Who Really Benefits? EVERYONE!
The basic thought behind all of this is pretty straightforward if a child is in pain from a dental problem, it’s going to lead to bad grades and possible absences from school. If you think about it, this program potentially creates more time sitting in the classroom, and less half- or full-day absences because of the time it takes to visit an outside health provider. It’s a benefit to the employers of these children’s parents as well, considering these employees no longer have to take time off of work to take their children to dentists.
All in all, it’s an elegant and mutually beneficial solution for everyone involved and a perfect example of where our federal tax dollars should go. Also, and this is a big benefit, it’s going to help both the children and the parents because this type of early preventative care will reduce the amount of cosmetic dentistry their kids may need in the future without this program.