PLYMOUTH — The Northeast Delta Dental Foundation recently awarded a $2,500 grant to fund the purchase of dental supplies for Speare Memorial Hospital’s Dental Health Program, which provides free or low-cost dental health services to local children.
“This is a real asset to our state,” said Ruth Doane, certified public health dental hygienist at Speare. “Before Speare brought a dental program into local schools, many students had never been to a dentist and had some very serious issues with their teeth. But now, students are able to receive more expedient care, resulting in less missed school and fewer trips to the emergency room for dental infections.”
Speare’s Dental Health Program was established in 1998 in response to growing concerns from local school nurses about unmet dental health needs of area school children. The program provides free dental screenings, services and education to children enrolled in School Administrative Unit 48, and the Ashland, Lin-Wood, and Warren school districts.
“We provide dental screenings and fluoride varnish applications free of charge, and cleanings and sealants are offered on a sliding fee scale,” said Doane. “No one is ever denied services because of their inability to pay.”
More than 20 area dental practices partner with Speare to provide care to patients referred from the program. Support is also provided through the Dental Health Program to families who need financial help, referrals to Medicaid, and assistance with overcoming other dental care barriers.
Clinics are also offered monthly at Plymouth OB/GYN and to the Women, Infant, and Children programs in Plymouth and Bristol. The program also includes Lincoln-Woodstock Community Child Care and Plymouth Head Start.
With grants from Northeast Delta Dental and local business sponsorships at the annual golf tournament, Speare is able to provide dental services and educate a new generation of dental hygienists.
To learn more about Northeast Delta Dental, visit nedelta.com.
For more information about Speare Memorial Hospital, visit spearehospital.com.