Happy Smiles dental health education and prevention in area schools
La Clinica began a dental outreach program to schools in August 2004 with funding from the Reed and Carolee Walker Fund through the Oregon Community Foundation. Since its inception, this program 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 a fluoride varnish 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 dental hygienist confirms the findings of the dental health screen and authorizes the placement of sealants.
- Our dental sealant services are certified by the Oregon Health Authority. Certification provides parents and schools with assurance that quality standards are met in the delivery of services.
Case management and referral
- Students who require additional dental services are referred to their dentist or La Clinica’s dental program.
HOW TO ENROLL YOUR CHILD
Download and complete a Happy Smiles registration packet (English, Spanish) and return it to the office at your child’s school. This packet must be completed before our visit to your child’s school. Packets are also available at schools. For information about our schedule at your child’s school, contact the school or call us at 541-414-1575.
If your child is uninsured, our staff will review your information and if appropriate connect you with an outreach worker who can help you apply for the Oregon Health Plan, a state insurance plan for low-income residents.
We will bill insurance companies for screening, 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 permission from a parent or guardian to be seen by our 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. Our in-school dental program was created to provide dental care in the elementary schools, where the services are sorely needed, and it has since expanded to include some middle schools. The program serves more than 10,000 children every year, preventing cavities and leading the fight for lifelong healthy oral hygiene.