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With the Help of Companies like Septodont, America’s ToothFairy has Helped 2 Million Children with Free Dental Screenings

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Since its founding in 2006, the nonprofit organization continued to help children and teens receive oral health screenings by supporting safety-net dental clinics through their National Screening Initiative.

Sonrisas creates access to oral health care by performing dental screenings in low-income public schools and making oral health care financially accessible for families. | Image Credit: © America's ToothFairy

Sonrisas creates access to oral health care by performing dental screenings in low-income public schools and making oral health care financially accessible for families. | Image Credit: © America's ToothFairy

Dental screening events at schools and community events are an effective way to identify children with acute oral health needs and connect them with a dental care provider that can address the unique barriers that keep kids from having a healthy smile. But providing enough of these screenings to help all the needy children is easier said than done.

That’s why each year millions of children in the United States, including up to half of those with state-funded dental insurance plans, don’t receive the dental treatment they need to be healthy, according to America’s ToothFairy. Children from low-income homes, rural communities, racial minorities, and those with limited English proficiency are faced with many obstacles to the dental care they need to thrive.

Since America’s ToothFairy was founded in 2006, the nonprofit organization has helped more than 2 million children and teens receive oral health screenings by supporting safety-net dental clinics through their National Screening Initiative, with financial support from dental companies like Septodont. Last year, Septodont’s sponsorship enabled over 125,000 screenings across 22 states.

“When our program members have the support they need to identify dental needs in earlier stages, everyone benefits,” said Jill Malmgren, executive director of America’s ToothFairy in a press release. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to increasing access to oral health care for children in need and works with corporate donors from around the globe to help safety-net dental clinics extend services to more children in need.

“The children our members serve often fall through the cracks because their parents are either unaware that early treatment of dental disease is cheaper to treat or that they can receive help at reduced rates and sometimes for free,” she adds. “Catching problems early also frees up resources for the clinics to treat more children and reduces strain on the state-funded programs that are designed to help low-income families.”

Screenings Serve as a Gateway to Care

When 4-year-old Olivia [the child’s name has been changed here] was screened at a public head start preschool in San Mateo County, California, she told the team from Sonrisas Dental Health that she had never been to a dentist. The screening staff noted that she had generalized decalcification of her teeth, generalized dentin-enamel fractures, and possible dental cavities on at least 9 teeth, America’s ToothFairy states. Sonrisas’ care coordinator learned that Olivia’s mother had been having an extremely difficult time finding a dentist but had still been trying in order to ease her daughter’s pain.

The girl’s mother was overcome with joy when she learned that Olivia could be seen at Sonrisas the very next day. Since that initial visit, Olivia has completed several dental visits, putting her on track to reach optimal health and enjoy a pain-free smile.

“Some children face great challenges in accessing care,” Sonrisas’ CEO Tracey Carrillo Fecher says. “Many families must make impossible choices between accessing dental care and meeting other basic needs, such as food, rent, or medication. Sonrisas creates access to oral health care by performing dental screenings in low-income public schools and making oral health care financially accessible for families.”

Sonrisas’ community care coordinator also spends time with caregivers discussing the findings and assists them in navigating the public insurance system, providing a concierge-like service in multiple languages, something that is critical for many families. Sonrisas is one of 51 nonprofit partners of America’s ToothFairy that serve children in 22 states across the United States.

“Our program members are uniquely equipped to address the barriers to care that other dental offices cannot,” Malmgren adds in the press release. “As the Title Sponsors of our National Screening Initiative, Septodont helped our members provide more than 125,000 dental screenings last year alone at schools and other locations that serve at-risk kids.”

“We believe everyone—especially children—should have access to dental care,” says Paul Mondock, president of Septodont Americas. “We are proud to be a long-standing partner of America’s ToothFairy and help nonprofit dental clinics be the gateway to dental care for millions of youth in vulnerable communities.”

For more information on the nonprofit, visit AmericasToothFairy.org.

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