School dental visits are critical for Colorado’s youth. A large percentage of them don’t have a dental home, and the only time they may be able to see a dentist is during school hours. Concerns surrounding transportation, communication, or finances can stand between these children and regular dental care. Whatever the barrier, school-based dental services help to bridge this gap, and Tepeyac Community Health Center provides a myriad of preventive services that help identify children with urgent dental needs. This helps the children and their families obtain additional support in an effort to get them connected to further treatment.
Tepeyac Community Health’s team conducts yearly visits to local schools. During their spring visit to Swansea and Garden Place elementary schools, they saw about 110 kids in about 5 days. Many of the kids remembered the Tepeyac team’s visit from the fall, and most who had anxiety or required a lot of patient management were excited to see them this time!
One little girl in particular, a 3-year-old in the ECE program, wouldn’t even open her mouth during her consult in the fall. Instead, the team showed her their equipment and demo’ed brushing and flossing on a dinosaur model. Fast forward a school year and she jumped into the dental chair and said, “Mira mis dientes!” (“Look at my teeth!”) with a huge smile on her face. She remembered the team from the fall and said she had been working on brushing at home. So even though they couldn’t complete her exam in the fall, she was more than ready to see them 6 months later!
Grant funding from Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation allows Tepeyac Community Health Center to significantly expand its capacity to provide comprehensive preventive and restorative oral health services to Tepeyac’s patient population – many of whom have had to forego oral healthcare due to a wide range of barriers.