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Smiles for free in Summit County

Kathryn Corazzelli
Summit Daily News
Special to the Daily
ALL |

The smiles of Summit County children just got a little bit brighter. Free dental care was provided to children from low-income or uninsured families Feb. 5 at the Summit Community Care Clinic. Over 45 children came in and received dental screenings, cleanings, extractions, and other services as needed.

This is the fifth year the clinic has held the event, which was open to people up to the age of 21. Care clinic executive director Sarah Vaine said the idea came about after the clinic started offering dental services and realized there was a large number of kids in need of oral health attention. She said the day goes along with the clinic’s mission to prevent and treat unnecessary conditions.

The event was made possible through a partnership with Vail Resorts Echo -the company’s social responsibility and environmental stewardship program – that sponsored the day. Volunteers also included members of the Summit Dental Alliance: a group of community dentists who volunteer dental care to low-income and uninsured people. Many of the dentists contribute year-round by “adopting,” or providing free care to at least one child per month. Vaine said each dentist in the group does his or her part – performing screenings, cleanings or adopting a child for follow-up treatment – so no one dentist feels the burden of every patient in need of attention.

“Everyone’s committed to helping these kids,” Vaine said.

Erin Major, community health coordinator and dental hygienist at the clinic, said she feels good about helping those who need it. She said the level of care the children received was top notch.

“It’s just very satisfying to get these kids in here,” she said.

Vaine said when it comes to children’s oral health, the right care and education will set them up with good habits that will last a lifetime.

“Every little bit of prevention can make a difference,” she said.

Vaine said children in need of long-term oral care were set up with treatment plans through the clinic or participating dentists within the community. She said although the event is annual, the clinic is committed to helping those in need of dental care all year. Low-income or uninsured patients in need of care should contact the clinic about services at (970) 668-4040.

Family Dental Centers in Dillon and Breckenridge are also offering free oral health services this coming Saturday Feb. 12 for low-income or uninsured adults and children. Examinations and cleanings will be done by appointment. To make an appointment, call the Family Dental Center in Dillon at (970) 468 -5995, or in Breckenridge at (970) 453-4585.


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