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Mobile Dentists pays visit to Union Local Elementary

T-L Photo/ROBERT A. DEFRANK Stacy Love, dentist with Mobile Dentists, gives Union Local Elementary second grader Jacob Ison a check up during the dentist’s visit to the school Friday.

BELMONT — Students at the Union Local School District got some needed dental care Friday when Mobile Dentists, a nationwide service that provides dentistry to schools, visited Union Local Elementary.

“They bring their own dentist, their own hygienist. All we have to do is supply a room and water,” elementary school nurse Missy Smith said.

The service is available for students of all ages, ranging from those just registering for pre-school at age 3, all the way up to high schoolers.

“We had 67 kids sign up. They go through, they take insurance, they take medical cards. They will do a sliding pay scale for parents who don’t have insurance or a medical card, or even do a donation if a parent fills out an application for free

dental care,” she said, adding that if a child has had dental care within six months, the insurance would not cover it. “We probably will have 55 or 60 who will get dental treatment.”

Smith added that they are receiving preventive care including teeth cleaning, fluoride treatment, and sealing if necessary.

“They’re looking at expanding, so next school year they can not only do preventive care but they can do restorative care, where they actually put in fillings,” she said.

She added that the district hopes to schedule another visit in the fall.

Smith said this is the first time in more than a decade since the school has hosted a dental visit. She noted the need among students.

“As the nurse in the elementary school clinic, I see so many kids with toothaches and cavities and issues of pain at school. Either their parents can’t get them into a dentist due to shortage of dentists, or parents don’t have the money,” Smith said.

On Friday, Candice Sealey, Expanded Function Dental Assistant, said they offered fillings and sealants to help prevent future cavities.

“We aim to hit areas where there is limited access to care. We travel all over the State of Ohio and try to reach those rural areas,” she said.

Superintendent Ben Porter said the practice of hosting a dentist is becoming more common in other school districts.

“More and more schools have a dentist that treats students and the public,” high school principal Joel Davia said, adding that many rural families are inconveniently far from a dentist.

“The bottom line is that schools are providing more, not just educating but providing additional services,” Porter said.

Mobile Dentists will visit again May 13.

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