Godfrey – Lewis and Clark Community College will offer free dental exams, dental cleanings, x-rays, fluoride, sealants and school physicals for children ages 3-16 at the second annual “Clean and Screen” event. These services will be provided to children of families who cannot afford them on a first come, first serve basis from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 17 in the River Bend Arena.
Last year 75 health care professionals staffed the event, including volunteer dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, nurses, nurse practitioners, and Spanish interpreters. Faculty, staff and students from the dental and nursing programs, will also take part in the event to ensure its success.
“The current economic downturn has affected us all,” Michelle Singley, coordinator of the Dental Hygiene Program at L&C said. “Many families in our college community find themselves struggling to make ends meet. Job loss, lack of medical or dental insurance, and a change in monthly income are making it difficult for many families to get the medical and dental services they need.”
Singley said the “Clean and Screen” event was developed to meet the needs of those in the community who are currently struggling with how to pay for school physicals or dental exams in preparation for the start of school. “Oftentimes things as essential as healthcare have to be put on the back burner when money is tight,” Singley said. “We are pleased to have tremendous support from the Dental Hygiene and Dental Assisting programs, allowing us to offer these much-needed services to the children of our community.”
Singley said the event has been well-received by the local school districts, local area dental offices, grant providers and corporate donors. “In addition to the generosity of time that so many in our community have pledged for this event, we have also been extremely fortunate to receive three grants that have provided us with the funds to purchase all of the materials we will use to provide free dental services and school physicals to children in need.” Singley said.
Grants were provided by the American Dental Hygiene Association, the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation and Ultradent.
Although there may be a wait for services, educational learning environments will be set up to keep children entertained. The Smile Station teaches children how to keep their oral health “on the right track” and is a fun, interactive health fair that allows children to play games, win prizes and learn about dental health. In addition, movies, light snacks and a referral system for any additional dentistry and/or medical services will be provided.
This year, a parent waiting area, complete with adult education, refreshments and movies, and a tot lot designed to keep younger children entertained, will also be offered.
Donna Meyer, Dean of Health Sciences, thanked everyone involved in organizing the event. “A great deal of planning, grant writing and organizing has gone into this event,” Meyer said. “I am thankful to everyone who has volunteered their time, products or services for this event. We have had more than $80,000 raised through in-kind donations and sponsorships, and we could not provide this event for our community members if it were not for these gifts.”