Since 2004, Smile Partners, a local non-profit, has been that offering preventive oral health care, and making kids smile all over Puget Sound. Smile Partners has already made stops at Tukwila Elementary School and has just wrapped up their services at Cascade View Elementary School.
Over the past few weeks over 100 students received dental exams with the Smile Partners hygiene team at Cascade View. The exams included teeth cleanings and preventive procedures like sealants and fluoride. Students who received an exam were given a good cleaning, sealants and fluoride, and also an education they can take with them for years to come.
"The kids are coming home and providing their parents with the information so they understand why it’s so important to go to the dentist.” said Smile Partners Dental Hygienist Brandi Morang.
She said getting their exams at school eases the pressure of going to a big dental office.
“We want a safe environment for the kids to come,” Morang said. “We want them to feel excited about taking care of their teeth, rather than going to a medical environment where sometimes it can be scary.” she said. Morang also encouraged students to find a regular dentist for constant check-ups.
Smile Partners reduces financial barriers for students who aren’t insured or who do not have a regular dentist. Morang said the neighborhoods Smiles Partners serves are very diverse.
“The schools [in the neighborhoods where they treat] have over 50 different languages spoken and sometimes there is a language barrier,” Morang said. She said getting to those neighborhoods is important to providing high-quality care.
Getting people that high-quality care was made more difficult in October when their mobile care vehicle the “Smile Coach” was ransacked by robbers who stole over $35,000 worth of supplies. They are still working on getting the vehicle up and fully functioning again and a GoFundMe site was launched to help with those efforts.
Tukwila School District will remain working with Smile Partners to keep our kids' teeth strong. More visits to the District are forthcoming.