Smiles for Students Program comes to Garfield Re-2

Smiles for Students program comes to Garfield Re-2 for Dental Health Awareness Month
Posted on 02/19/2022
Smiles for StudentsThis week, the Garfield County Community Health Services “Smiles for Students'' program resulted in 54 students at Wamsley Elementary School receiving an in-depth oral health education, dental evaluation, fluoride varnishes and sealants. Nearly 200 students in the district have been serviced this year alone. 

Barring one year during the ongoing pandemic, the Smiles for Students program has been held in Re-2 for 13 years. It is paid for through grant funding so that it remains free to both the schools and the families participating. The goal is to reach as many students with the greatest need for preventive oral health care.

The program targets schools with approximately 50 percent free and reduced lunch numbers, and students in the 2nd, 3rd, 6th and 7th grades. These are the ages when molars erupt and have the best potential to be sealed before cavities form. Referrals are also accepted for students in other grades who have unmet oral health needs. 

“How it works is (Garfield County Community) Health Services comes in with an equipped team of dental hygienists who set up chairs, lights, tables and tools in a designated space at the school,” says Wamsley health clerk Tiffany Arnold. “Within 45 minutes, the hygienists get to work on educating and helping our students have healthy smiles that will last a lifetime. They then complete dental screening reports to be sent to parents.” She says it takes 20 minutes per check-up.
The letter that parents receive explains what preventive work was done as well as a goody bag with a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss. If there are any oral concerns, SFS will send home oral photos of those areas. The hygienist will also call parents to discuss recommendations for follow-up care. 
Costs of preventative services like this would be upwards of $270 per student in a private dental office in Garfield County. The cost could be more depending upon how many sealants each child needs. One sealant costs more than $50 and some students need as many as 14 sealants.

“I am very happy to have had the Smiles for Students program educating our kids at Wamsley for the past 13 years,” says Arnold. “We take the Dental Health Awareness Month of February very seriously around here!”
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