OCTOBER 5, 2015
Smile Savers Dental Program Begins Second Year in Lawrence and Martin Counties
Lawrence County Health Department begins their second school year of the Smile Savers Dental Hygiene Program.
The program is funded through a grant from the Kentucky Department for Public Health that aims to increase access and improve oral health standards in communities across the state.
Smile Savers provides preventive dental hygiene services for students preschool through 12 grade in both Lawrence and Martin County schools. The funding allows for a dental hygienist and assistant, portable dental equipment, dental supplies, a transport vehicle and transportation costs.
The Smile Savers Team includes Rhonda Collins, Public Health Registered Dental Hygienist and Jessie Wellman, Certified Dental Assistant.
Rhonda graduated in 1998 from Prestonsburg Community College and has worked as a Dental Hygienist for 16 years. Jessie is originally from Lexington and has lived in Louisa for 10 years. Jessie graduated from The Lexington Academy of Dental Assisting in 2005.
“Jessie and I are thrilled to help protect the smiles of so many children and assist in the prevention of tooth decay, one of the most common preventable diseases in children,” said Ms. Collins.
Last school year, the Smile Savers Dental Hygiene Team got started in March 2015 and in just two months provided preventive dental services for 240 children.
“We are so pleased to provide preventive dental services for our students and this year our two devoted professionals will see even more children in both Martin and Lawrence Counties,” said Debbie Miller, Lawrence County Health Department Director. “Our Health Department also participants in the Kentucky Smiling School Oral Health Project which provides additional resources for fluoride varnishing for students first through fifth grade,” said Ms. Miller.
The Smile Savers Program provides oral assessments, cleanings, fluoride varnish, and sealant placement on permanent molars. The program also provides counseling on nutrition, tobacco prevention and cessation and trauma prevention as well as education for personal oral health care.
Both of these preventive dental services, Smiling Schools and Smile Savers, are provided at no cost to parents.
Fluoride varnish is a protective coating applied on the teeth to help prevent new cavities and can help stop cavities that have already started. Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that are painted on the chewing surface of the back teeth and also reduce childhood tooth decay.
Good oral health is vital for success in school and all aspects of life. The goal of the Smile Savers Program is for each and every student to be comfortable and excited to visit a dentist on a regular basis for lifelong dental care. In addition to the Lawrence and Martin County School Systems, the team will be working in conjunction with local and area dentists to achieve this goal.
Rhonda and Jessie are very excited to work with the students, schools and the community… Saving Smiles, One Child at a Time!