What is Smiles United?
Smiles United is a school-based preventative and restorative dental program that provides care for uninsured and underinsured children. The program improves the oral health and well-being for children from Headstart -18 years of age by providing cleanings, fluoride treatments and sealants right within the school by way of a mobile dental unit. "Smiles" was launched in 2009 and is currently providing care in all area school districts across the Iron Range and Koochiching County. In 2019, the program extended through the summer months, with dental services being provided out of the UWNEMN building!
What is the need?
- Tooth decay is the most common infectious disease among children. It is also largely preventable!
- Nationally, more than 51 million school hours are lost each year due to tooth decay. By providing the necessary dental care in school, children can easily access necessary preventative care in order to stay healthy!
- Children receiving dental sealants in school-based programs have 60% less decay for up to five years. Healthy children feel better in school, which helps our efforts to educate.
How Smiles United Works
1. Schools send out consent forms for parents to sign and return.
2. All children who return a consent form are eligible to receive care. Insurance will be billed for those who have it. Assistance in applying for insurance is available. For those who are income-eligible or without insurance, services will be provided on a sliding fee scale or free care program. Services include initial screening, fluoride treatments, and oral health education. Sealants and dental cleanings will be completed if clinically indicated.
3. Children keep a healthy smile and are positively impacted about how they feel, learn, and behave.
Dental services are offered to all students at participating schools and administered by a local hygienist and assistant. Children's Dental Services has more than 50 years of experience providing site-based care in schools.
We Need Your Support...
To operate Smiles United, we rely on community support. To make a contribution to Smiles Across Minnesota, designate through payroll deduction at your workplace, donate online today, or send donations to UWNEMN at 608 East Drive, Chisholm, MN 55719.