Dental Services in Area Schools

Public input sought for new student dental service

(c) 2007 Hilltown FamiliesMany children in our community suffer from dental disease—the most common chronic childhood disease—five times more common than asthma. When a child suffers from untreated dental problems, everyone loses. Due to pain, the child may be unable to concentrate at school and may become disruptive in class, negatively impacting the other children’s opportunity for learning. Ultimately, our whole community suffers when a child suffers.

The good news is that the Hilltown Community Health Centers are working in partnership with Gateway Regional Schools to develop a program to help our community combat this disease. Together, they are planning to bring preventive and restorative dental services into the schools. A taskforce of school representatives, health center representatives and parents have been meeting all year to design a program that meets our community’s unique needs. We have grant funding from MassHealth Access Program and Oral Health Foundation to purchase portable dental equipment and plan the outreach effort. No town or school funds will be used. 

Preliminary ideas are to begin providing dental services in the school to second and seventh graders in the winter of 2008. Children in these grades can benefit from the application of dental sealants (a protective film over the teeth) that are applied to prevent tooth decay. We are planning to model our program after our successful School Based Health Center at the middle/high school. Families will have multiple opportunities to enroll their children. The program will be staffed by our local dentist, Dr. Emily Bowden and hygienist Liz Spooner, from the Hilltown Community Health Centers.

To meet the needs of our community, we would like your input. Please contact Mary Jo Maffei, Dental Outreach Planner with any suggestions, questions or concerns you may have ( , 413-238-4117 or 413-259-1263).

Working together we can create a community with healthier children who are better able to learn.

Illustration (c) Sienna Wildfield

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