By ELISE McKEOWN SKOLNICK
Using chairs and tables, a dentist and two dental hygienists set up a mobile dental office at West Boulevard Elementary School May 28. Twice a year, the Smile Program team from Michigan visits the school to perform dental exams for children who aren’t able to visit a dentist at other times.
“It’s a great program,” said Mary Neff, school nurse.
They set up in her office, and she’s there for the students all day.
“In case the children are frightened, they know me a little bit, but they don’t really know the dental people,” she said. “Sometimes I hold hands or something like that.”
“The team provides dental exams, x-rays, cleanings, fluoride, and sealants,” said Melissa Rager, a dental hygienist with the team that visited in May. There is no cost to the children.
One third-grade student said that the mobile service works out well.
“I don’t really have to leave school or anything, I can just come here,” Mia Wirchert said. “Me and my mom like doing this because it’s easy for us.”
Wirchert also said that, though the exam doesn’t hurt and the team is nice, it’s not all pleasant.
“It sorta feels nasty for people to put their fingers in my mouth,” Wirchert said.
But it’s worth it for clean and healthy teeth.
One fourth-grade student commented on how fast the team is.
“It only takes about 10 minutes,” Ryan Babb said.
He has participated in the past, as well.
“I thought that it was pretty good to get my teeth cleaned,” Babb said. “It felt nice.”
Each child receives a sticker and a new toothbrush, following the exam.