— The Together for Health Dental Center (TFHDC), part of Wayne Memorial Community Health Centers (WMCHC), is utilizing its new portable equipment to bring preventive dental care to children enrolled in area Head Start programs. The bi-annual onsite visits are scheduled by Public Health Dental Hygiene Practitioner Lori Wood, a registered dental hygienist and Community Dental Health Coordinator (CDHC) employed by TFHDC and Donna Redmon, Head Start health coordinator for Lackawanna, Wayne, Pike and Susquehanna counties.
Some students including Tina Diaz's 3-year-old son, Christian, of Carbondale, never had a dental exam prior to this appointment.
According to his mother, Christian wasn't nervous when she explained to him what would happen the evening before the visit. "I just told him they were going to brush his teeth. And, also let him know if he was eating too much candy," she said with a laugh.
Although this occasion may have been a first time experience for some students, the relationship between the dental professionals at the TFHDC and Head Start is not new.
In the past, students age 3 to 5-years-old whose parents gave consent for treatment were taken out of school and traveled to the dental center located in Honesdale.
"We were transporting the kids to the Together for Health Dental Center from Honesdale, Hawley and Pike Head Starts. We needed to take them on the bus at the expense of Head Start," stated Redmon.
However, with Wood's completion of an 18-month program sponsored by the American Dental Association to become a CDHC, services are offered directly within the school environment.
Redmon recognizes the benefit of mobile services not only from a financial aspect, but also as a means of reducing anxiety for young patients by allowing them to remain within their own element.
"This is much better. The kids aren't going into a big office with a big chair. The equipment is conducive to their size," stated Redmon. "Lori lets them be part of the exam. They get to hold the toothbrush and toothpaste. She's great with the kids," she added.
Page 2 of 2 - Since the mobile services were rolled out in December of last year, over 40 Head Start children have been treated by Wood in her new role as a CDHC. However, that is only the beginning.
"We are scheduled to visit some of the local school districts," stated Wood. "In the near future, we plan to expand services to include treatment for adults."
TFHDC is part of WMCHC, a federally qualified health center clinically affiliated with Wayne Memorial Health System. The full service dental center accepts PA Blue Shield–United Concordia, PA Medical Assistance, PA Blue CHIP, Delta Dental of PA, Denta Quest and many other plans. A slide fee scale based on income is also available for those who qualify. For more information, please call 570-251-6534 or visit us at www.wmh.org/WMCHC.