Thank you for your interest in our Happy Smiles dental outreach program. This program relies on the generous support of businesses, foundations, and individuals to bring critical, cavity-preventing services and education with compassion and care to our community’s most vulnerable children.
THANK YOU TO OUR 2021/22 BUSINESS SPONSORS
THANK YOU TO OUR 2021/22 PARTNERS
Meeting a critical need
Why an in-school dental program? Tooth decay and tooth loss can lead to several issues as kids get older: trouble eating and speaking and a loss of self-esteem, along with chronic pain. Receiving fluoride treatments and sealants and learning good home care at a young age can help prevent these outcomes; however, for many of our area’s children these solutions are out of reach due to cost or a lack of access to care. Since 2004, our Happy Smiles team has been traveling to schools providing kids with these services and supplies regardless of a family’s ability to pay. The program has grown to include 28 schools and some additional community locations. With your support, we will be able to continue providing this critical service, providing kids with a better opportunity to thrive.
A story from our team
Liam, 8 (whose name has been changed here) first saw Hygienist Keela Sutton at La Clinica’s East Medford Dental Clinic, where she spends most of her work days.
Two years had passed since he’d visited the dentist. He was overdue for a cleaning and needed fluoride varnish, and the time-consuming application of four protective tooth coverings known as sealants. But when the boy got in her chair, he flailed, cried, and grabbed at equipment, afraid of the setting and unable to settle down. So instead of working through the list of tasks she’d planned, Keela showed him her equipment, talked about why it was important that he start brushing and flossing regularly at home, and slowly worked her way through cleaning his teeth.
For the sealants, she had another plan: She knew he was signed up for La Clinica’s Happy Smiles in-school dental program at Washington Elementary School the following week. During the pandemic, the team had been using a quick-to-apply form of sealants to avoid producing aerosols and potentially spreading germs. Liam, now at ease with Keela, was the first student the team called in at Washington. To her delight, he informed her he’d been brushing and flossing regularly.
“We were able to apply the four sealants in just minutes, and he tolerated it incredibly well,” she said. “In the clinical setting, it would have been a huge struggle, and to be honest, I don’t think we would have been successful. Now this kiddo is covered preventatively for the future.”
Ongoing support will help sustain and grow this valuable resource within our community.
Please contact us to become a sponsor:
To see in-school dental service locations or download a registration packet, visit our in-school dental program page.