Rockford-area dental screenings improve smiles

Jun 8, 2012

A successful dental screening program in several northern Illinois school districts will continue this summer,  and will even expand this fall.  

The screening program identifies students who may not regularly see a dentist for reasons including lack of insurance or transportation. During the past school year, more than 900 students in the Belvidere, Harlem, and Rockford School Districts received dental treatment.

Kathy Olson is the director of pediatric dental and outreach services for Crusader Community Health. The group has partnered with Orland Park, Onsite, and Oates Dental Services.  She says about 30% of children screened need follow-up care, and it ranges from minor decay to more severe dental problems.

The screenings are funded in part by Medicaid and All Kids.  Some families are charged based on family income. Olson says students are given an individual treatment plan.  In the fall, the screenings will be offered to high school students.

"I think it's really critical that kids graduating from high school have their mouths in good condition because it's pretty much known between those college years when you have employment of your own and potentially insurance one of the things that gets neglected is your dental health," says Olson.

The screenings will pick up again in the fall, but Olson says the actual dental work will continue throughout the summer. 

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