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Providing Dental Health Care To Uninsured Kids

David Mulder via Flickr Creative Commons

The Children’s Dental Network offers preventive dental services in 27 schools in and around Derry, NH to children who wouldn’t otherwise have access to those services. Jeanne Carroll and her husband are both college grads, and considered themselves “middle class;” they never thought they would have difficulty providing dental health care for their three children. 

“But we happened to be in a period of time where, financially, things were very rocky for us,” says Carroll. There simply was not enough money in the budget to send the kids to the dentist. This was hard to swallow because as Carroll says, oral hygiene had “always been a priority for me, but there was just no way we could afford visits to the dentist.”

Then one day the school sent home with her son a flyer for the CDN, which promised cleanings for any student who did not have a regular dentist. “I had no idea there was such a thing!” Carroll didn’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth, but she didn’t think her family would be eligible for the service. As it turned out eligibility is based on the child’s needs, “they didn’t ask ‘how much are you earning? No, your child doesn’t qualify.’ It was more like ‘do you need this and do you live in this area?’ ”

The CND covered Carroll’s children from 5th through 8th grades providing fluoride treatments, cleanings, and sealants. “It was a huge relief that I didn’t have to worry about them getting a cavity and being in pain or getting an infection.” Carroll’s finances were so tight paying for emergency care would have been prohibitive.

In addition to dental services for her children, Carroll also receives significant peace of mind. Having grown up in a city with fluorinated water, oral hygiene had always been important to her “so to me, if you have good dental health and good dental hygiene, chances are you’ll have an overall better health.”

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