"Students who might not have the opportunity to visit a regular dentist benefit the most from this program," Clay Community Schools Director of Health Services, Lynn Stoelting, R.N., said about the mobile dental program at Forest Park Elementary. "This is a way for students to receive dental care that will help protect their permanent teeth."
Sponsored by the Indiana University School of Dentistry and supported with funds by the Indiana State Department of Health, the SEAL INDIANA program provides dental exams, x-rays, sealant to prevent cavities and fluoride treatments to students. Each participant receives a dental kit of a new toothbrush, toothpaste and a few age appropriate treats to take home and continue the good dental lessons taught on the Mobile Dental Bus.
The Mobile Dental Bus collects research data about the dental health of school age children in Indiana while giving IU dental students the opportunity for valuable training experience.
"This program benefits so many families regardless of their insurance coverage," Mobile Unit Coordinator C. Edward Childress said. It has provided dental care to more than 7,000 patients in 190 schools throughout Indiana since its beginning three years ago. "We initially began providing dental care for Title One accredited schools only, but the need is so great, that we have been asked to visit other schools as well."
The cost for participating in the program is determined by coverage through private insurance, Medicaid and/or Hoosier Healthwise or a sliding scale that is determined by the student's family income.
Families that are unable to pay for the services are directed to the school nurse or the SEAL INDIANA program manager. No child is refused care because of an inability to pay.
"We would love to one day be able to visit all the schools in Clay County," Childress said.
The Mobile Dental Bus has provided dental care to students at Clay City Elementary and the Clay City Jr./Sr. High School earlier this year.
"We are trying to reach the students that are most in need in the county," Stoelting said. "That is why we try to add a new school each year to the program."