June 01, 2007

Program offers preventive dental care for children

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Happy, healthy smiles for elementary school children is the goal of the summer dental program sponsored by the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Dental Hygiene Program.

The free sealant program provides visual oral examinations by Dr. Dwayne Summers along with teeth cleaning, fluoride treatment and sealant application. The program enables children to comply with state requirements for oral examinations upon entering kindergarten, second and sixth grades but it’s open to elementary children of all ages, according to Faith Miller, program associate professor and co-coordinator for the sealant program.

The program kicks off June 7 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at New Zion Missionary Baptist Church, 803 N. Robert Stalls Ave. in Carbondale. The dentist will see children at that time and on June 18, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., also at the church. SIUC dental hygiene students will provide cleanings, fluoride and sealants June 13-14 and June 18-20 at the church.

Lutheran Social Services children will receive program care in late June and the public program resumes July 9 with exams 12:30-4:30 p.m. by Summers at the Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale at 250 N. Springer St. Each Tuesday and Wednesday thereafter during the month of July, children can receive cleanings, fluoride and sealant application at the SIUC Dental Hygiene Clinic. Program coordinators are arranging transportation to take children to and from the clinic on those July days.

The program is essentially preventive dental care. The SIUC Community Dental Clinic can help those who need more extensive oral care, Miller said.

An Illinois Department of Public Health, Division of Oral Health grant is funding the program. Children eligible for free or reduced-price school lunches are the program’s focus but all children may participate, Miller said. The permission form includes a spot for parents to provide their child (ren)’s Medicare number. There will be no third-party insurance billing.

Plans are under way to add future sealant program dates at locations in Murphysboro and Marion as well. For more information about the program, contact Miller at 618/453-8880.