Smiles in Schools
Posted Tue, April 05, 2016
Smile Partners aims to overcome the obstacles that keep the lowest-income, most ethnically diverse groups at its current schools from participating in its preventive oral hygiene program. It estimates that at least 800 low-income children most in need of preventive oral health would gain access to its dental hygiene services as a result of this project.
Through careful data tracking during Smile Partners' consent process in its Pre-K and Elementary schools, its hygiene teams document participation levels among families in these existing schools. It has been able to gain a close count of the households whose children may benefit from their services but do not participate for a number of different reasons, which include lack of Medicaid coverage (despite possible eligibility), lack of awareness that dental services are covered by their Medicaid insurance if they carry it, cultural resistance to or lack of awareness of the importance of tooth-decay prevention, language barriers, and inability to cover the service's subsidized copay.