Godfrey, Ill. – Volunteers helped 59 area children get free dental screenings, preventive work and school/sports physicals during Lewis and Clark’s second Clean and Screen event, held Sat., July 17 at the Paul B. Hanks Dental Clinic.
Including siblings and parents, 135 Madison, Jersey, Greene, St. Clair and Macoupin County residents were served at the annual event.
In addition to free dental exams, dental cleanings, x-rays, fluoride treatments and sealants, families were treated to a magical learning atmosphere complete with an appearance by the Tooth Fairy and 30 educations booths at The Smile
Station, returning from last year.
The carnival-like atmosphere in Riverbend Arena's gymnasium offered educational games encouraging good oral health, prizes, balloons, face painting, movies and nutritious snacks.
“Several parents who attended the inaugural event last July returned this year after reading about the event in the newspaper. Returning parents were thrilled with the one stop shopping concept, where all services are provided under one roof and free of charge,” said Cathy Anderson, an L&C dental assisting/hygiene faculty member. “Returning parents and children were also excited to revisit The Smile Station, as they learned how to keep their oral health ‘on the right track.’”
Colorful, interactive displays and games designed by Anderson, who is a former first grade teacher, reinforced children’s knowledge of proper brushing and flossing, diet and nutrition, tooth anatomy, and the oral-systemic link.
New this year was a “tot lot” designed to entertain preschool children, as well as a room arranged as a parent education and reception area, where parents had a place to relax as their children received treatment.
The L&C Mobile Health Unit was also available for tours, where Sharon Walker, Mobile Health Unit intake coordinator, offered free oral health products to all family members who attended the event.
The 66 volunteers who staffed the event included dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, and dental program faculty, staff and students. Nurse Practitioners and Registered Nurses from Lewis and Clark’s Nurse Managed Center, as well as faculty, staff and students from the nursing program, also volunteered.
“We were very pleased to have so many professionals volunteering their time to offer free services to these children in need. It was truly a collaborative effort,” said Michelle Singley, coordinator of the Dental Hygiene Program at L&C. “In addition to the generosity of time that the volunteers pledged for this event, we were also extremely fortunate to receive several grants that have provided us with the funds to purchase all of the materials needed to provide dental services and school physicals to so many children in need.”
This year, grants were provided by the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation, the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, Ultradent and Septodont, Inc.
Additional sponsors of the event included Colgate, Henry Schein, Hu-Friedy, Johnson & Johnson, the L&C Student Activities and Nursing Clubs, Oral B, Sunstar Americas, Inc., Waterpik and Williams Office Products.