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Arkansas Children’s Dental Outreach Programs: Reaching More Children in More Ways

October 22, 2018

Many children across the state lack access to important dental care. Yet, a simple toothache can become a complicated issue, leading to problems with eating, speaking, playing and learning. Thanks to the generosity of donors across the state, Arkansas Children’s Dental Outreach Programs have provided dental services to patients for almost a decade.

The following programs provide services to children who otherwise would not receive dental care:

Mobile Dental Clinics

Three state-of-the-art vans are outfitted as Mobile Dental Clinics providing comprehensive dentistry to approximately 1,200 school-aged children across the state through more than 2,700 visits annually.

School-Based Programs

The Dental Sealant Program consists of a team that provides oral health education and preventative care such as dental screenings, fluoride applications and dental sealants to children’s teeth to protect them from cavities through adulthood. The team travels across the state, sometimes collaborating with local dental providers to reach more than 60 schools and 6,000 students every year. Students are also taught about important habits like brushing and flossing through the “teACHout,” an educational component of the Dental Sealant Program.

Fixed-Base Clinic

The Future Smiles Dental Clinic is a fixed-base school clinic at Wakefield Elementary managed by University of Arkansas Little Rock Children’s International. The clinic team, which includes an ACH dentist, provides comprehensive dental care to over 1,500 students annually in the Little Rock School District elementary schools.

Last week we saw an uninsured little girl who had the largest abscess we have seen at her school. We extracted the tooth and removed all of the infection. Afterward, she fully relaxed like she was ready to take a nap, probably experiencing relief for the first time in months.

     We saw her a few days later to complete more of her treatment plan. She was so excited to see us. She looked happier and livelier. She hugged our dentist and told her that her other abscessed tooth was hurting. We were able to extract that tooth also. Immediately after lying down on the dental chair to get treated, she felt comfortable. She knew relief was imminent. This is why we do this work.”

                                               —a member of Arkansas Children’s Mobile Dental Team

Children’s health in Arkansas ranks near the bottom nationally by most measures, and poor oral health is a leading factor contributing to this ranking.  Your generosity will help Arkansas Children’s continue changing the landscape of children’s health in Arkansas through these preventative dental programs.

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