United Way of Northeastern Minnesota (UWNEMN)’s children’s dental program, Smiles United, will resume services July 1st after being on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Uninsured and under-insured children will once again be able to receive free and reduced-cost dental care at UWNEMN’s building in Chisholm this summer through the program, which UWNEMN operates in partnership with Children’s Dental Services. In 2019, Smiles United served more than 1,600 patients in UWNEMN’s service territory.
This is the second summer the program will be operating out of UWNEMN’s building, and UWNEMN Executive Director Shelley Valentini said the organization is excited to see it return given the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.
“Smiles United was just one of many things that had to be suspended and adjusted because of COVID-19,” Valentini noted. “But just like everything else, we know the need for this care hasn’t gone away throughout the crisis – if anything it may have grown. We are glad Children’s Dental Services is able to take the appropriate precautions to safely provide this much needed service to our local children.”
Precautions include equipping Children’s Dental Services staff with N95 masks and face shields, asking that only one parent/guardian accompany patients, properly sanitizing the office and leaving empty 60 minutes between patients, screening patients with health questions, and taking their temperature prior to entering the building. In addition, patients and guardians will be asked to wait in their vehicle between appointments instead of waiting inside the UWNEMN building.
These precautions are critical to keeping UWNEMN staff, Children’s Dental Service staff, and patients healthy while ensuring children receive the dental care they need.
“After a pause in services due to COVID, Children's Dental Services is thrilled to be back providing dental care to children and families from across the Iron Range on-site at the United Way in Chisholm,” said Children’s Dental Services Manager Sadiya Khan.
For more details on Smiles United, click here. To make an appointment, call 1-866-543-6009.