This year Family First Health is highlighting our Mobile School Dentist Program in Columbia during the Extra Give day of giving. Your support ensures that we are able to provide needed oral health care to children in the Columbia community directly in their schools.
In August 2020, Family First Health opened its dental location at 430 Walnut Street in Columbia. This bricks-and-mortar site offers comprehensive dental care, including cleanings, exams, x-rays, extractions, dentures, fillings, root canals, fluoride treatment, and sealants for patients of all ages.
Knowing that good oral health is especially important for pediatric patients, Family First Health launched its mobile school dentist program in the Columbia schools, bringing services directly to the children during the school day in their schools. With three visits per year, the dental team sees each student multiple times through the year. Services include state mandated school screenings and preventative care.
The dental team sets up a mobile dentist office inside the school, usually in a gym, cafeteria, or library. The team serves students from all ages in Columbia, from Kindergarten through 12th grade. School nurses support the program by serving as point-person for the visits, and distribute and collect signed registration forms and coordinate communication with the dental team. Once treated by the Mobile School Dentist Program, the student becomes a dental patient at FFH, giving them a dental home. Students receive the following care:
- Visual screening with mirror and explorer
- Dental exam
- Oral hygiene instruction
Parents receive a report card after each visit so they can learn about the care their child received and if they require follow up care for an issue, such as a filling for a cavity. For dental needs that cannot be met in the school setting, FFH offers appointments at the conveniently located bricks-and-mortar site in Columbia.
The parent’s insurance gets billed for the services that their child receives through this program. If a family does not have dental insurance, FFH insurance eligibility staff work to educate the student’s parents with potential insurance options and assist them with enrolling in a qualified insurance plan. Additionally, FFH has a sliding fee scale to support families without insurance, so they are able to afford the dental care for their child.
This program benefits students because they are ensured regular oral health care throughout their school years. Because they are treated in a familiar setting within their school, some anxiety that rises when entering a traditional dental office can be reduced. Parents benefit because of a decreased need to take time off work or transport their child to a dentist, which could mean time out of school for the student.
Family First Health is proud to offer this service to students in the Columbia School District. This video details more information about this innovative program and how it benefits the community. Our team looks forward to continuing this partnership into the future, ensuring healthy smiles for Columbia students!