ROCHESTER, Minn. – Children’s Dental Health Services works to bring dental care to the underinsured, which includes anyone on medical assistance or with no insurance.
“The number of providers that accept medical assistance is very few and far between,“ Sarah Hayes with CDHS said. “When you go into more rural counties like Mower and Freeborn, they are lacking. There is no one to provide services for these children. The access is very limited.”
This rings true for Shavonne Alexander, a mom of three in Rochester who is on U-Care, state funded medical assistance.
“I tried to get an appointment at a different dentist and they didn’t accept my insurance,” Alexander said. “I've been to even doctors that didn't accept my medical.”
That’s why Alexander has to bring her kids to CDHS for dental care, a service that means a lot to her.
“It's very important for me to keep dental care for my kids because they're awesome beautiful girls and I want them to have nice shiny teeth,” she said.
Hayes said dental hygiene is important to take care of, not only for shiny teeth but also for safety. She said cavities left untreated canlead to speech impairment or spread to someone’s blood stream escalating health issues from there.
CDHS sees about 4,000 kids CDHS sees annually.
CDHS also works to bring dental care to those in need by creating what they call “Happy Smile Kits.” The kits get delivered to children via a van. They include toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, and instructions, so kids can upkeep their dental hygiene.
CDHS is asking for volunteers to help create the Happy Smile Kits. They are hoping to assemble 3,000 kids on Thursday night. The volunteer opportunity starts at 5:30pm at the United Way building in Olmsted County.