Giggles and smiles. Not what you might expect from someone sitting in the exam chair at the dentist’s office  – let alone an infant or pre-K student who may have never experienced this type of appointment before. Thanks to our friends at Swope Health, United Inner City Services (UICS) students learned going to the dentist isn’t that bad at all….!

Through our incredible partnership with Swope Health Outreach, we were able to provide preventative dental care and education to our students at UICS-St. Mark Center on Wednesday, October 6th. 

 “Anyone who signs up receives preventative screenings, teeth cleaning, fluoride treatments, and good dental hygiene education,” offered Ms. Shawn Oprisiu, Swope Health’s Community Education Specialist. 

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), dental care should begin as soon as a child’s first tooth arrives. UICS recognizes this important milestone and works to ensure all students, ranging in age from six weeks to five years old, have the opportunity to access quality dental services. Each of our three schools have relationships with local dentistry partners. 

Swope Health’s Dental Team has generously partnered with UICS for the past four years to provide dental care to students at UICS-St. Mark Center and UICS-Metro Center. Their mission is to improve the health and wellness of the community by delivering accessible, quality, comprehensive patient care.

“We service all thirty-six MARC (Mid-America Regional Council) schools in the area, which includes all of the early childhood Head Start centers,” Ms. Oprisiu shared. (MARC’s Head Start and Early Head Start programs provide federally funded, comprehensive early learning services to qualifying families living in Clay, Platte and Jackson counties.)

Ms. Oprisiu revealed an exciting announcement that will increase this program’s reach and dental education for children in our community; Swope Health is officially launching the Swope Health Mobile Dental Clinic next month. They will operate a fully mobile dental clinic on a bus to offer dental services to kids. This expansion is part of a Missouri/Kansas non-profit school-based program that provides preventative oral healthcare to children in the Kansas City Metro. 

“This will make bringing dental care to children easier and more accessible for parents. Kids will come to the bus and receive dental exams and routine dental care.”

The Mobile Dental Clinic will offer cleanings, fluoride, sealants, oral health education, x-rays, and fillings while respecting increased safety precautions in light of COVID-19. 

“I don’t want people to be scared to come to the dentist because of the pandemic. We are preserving all health and CDC guidelines, and there’s no need not to participate in preventative services” stated Ms. Oprisiu. 

In addition to providing quality dental care by credentialed technicians and dentists, the Swope Health Dental Team also worked tirelessly to ensure the emotional well-being of our little learners as they received services. 

“Their staff is very good with children,” said Ms. Vicki Lockett, UICS-St. Mark Center Family Advocate. “They make the kids feel comfortable. That is what’s most important.” 

Ms. Vicki also shared how one technician in particular had the “magic touch” and induced many smiles and laughter as the students sat in the exam chair. 

“They also give the children nice care packages,” said Ms. Vicki. With every visit, the students receive new toothbrushes, toothpaste, pamphlets promoting good dental hygiene, and fun stickers. 

“Tooth” be told, we’re proud to connect strong community partners, like Swope Health, to our students and families to provide essential resources and care. Thank you for working to make our community healthier and our smiles shine brighter.