ABOUT HAPPY SMILES
La Clinica’s school-based dental health education and prevention program
La Clinica began the Happy Smiles school-based dental outreach program in August 2004 with funding from the Reed and Carolee Walker Fund through the Oregon Community Foundation. Since its inception Happy Smiles has provided dental education, screening services, and dental care to more than 28,000 children in our community.
Children at participating schools receive the following:
Dental health education
- Children receive annual age-appropriate dental hygiene education (special guest for the younger set: the Tooth Fairy) and a dental home care kit complete with family education materials.
With a parent’s permission, children also receive the following:
Screening and fluoride treatments
- Children receive an in-depth dental health screening to identify potential cavities, conduct oral hygiene, and determine plaque levels.
- They receive two fluoride varnishes to help prevent cavities.
- They get firsthand training in how to properly brush teeth.
- All children who have at least one tooth eligible for sealants are referred to this service. A licensed dentist confirms the findings of the dental health screen and authorizes the placement of sealants.
Case management and referral
- Students who require additional dental services are referred to their dentist, the Children’s Dental Clinic of Jackson County, or La Clinica’s dental program.
HOW TO ENROLL YOUR CHILD IN HAPPY SMILES
Consent forms, which also are available at participating schools, must be submitted prior to Happy Smiles’ scheduled visit to your child’s school. You can contact Happy Smiles at 541-414-1575 or your child’s school for information about the program schedule.
If your child is uninsured, the Happy Smiles staff will review your consent form and if appropriate connect you with an outreach worker who can assist you in applying for the Oregon Health Plan, a state insurance plan for low-income residents.
We will bill insurance companies for fluoride varnish and sealants if the child’s family is insured; otherwise, services are provided at no cost to the child’s family. Families of children with insurance do not pay deductibles or co-pays.
All children must have written consent from a parent or guardian to be seen by the Happy Smiles dental team.
Enroll your child today for a lifetime of oral health!
Oral disease is now the most common childhood disease — five times more common than asthma. In Oregon, one of every five primary-aged school children has serious dental decay in seven or more teeth. An estimated 51 million school hours are missed annually because of health problems affecting the mouth.
Jackson County has an alarming oral health problem that is only beginning to be addressed. We estimate that roughly 119,000 Jackson County residents lack dental insurance. Further, 43 percent of our county’s residents, or roughly 86,000 people, have incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty guideline.
Due to the dire need in our community for dental care, La Clinica is committed to improving dental health by developing a comprehensive selection of dental services. The Happy Smiles program was created to provide dental care in the elementary schools, where the services are sorely needed. The program serves more than 5,000 children every year, preventing cavities and leading the fight for lifelong healthy oral hygiene.
In addition, La Clinica manages the only sliding-scale dental program in Jackson County for uninsured, low-income residents.
While these programs are an invaluable service they provide only 7 percent of the care needed in our community. Increasing La Clinica’s ability to provide more dental services is a financial imperative.