Students at Jonas Salk Elementary School were recently paid a visit by the Smile Care Indiana Mobile Dentist Program. The program, which provides basic dental care to students without them ever having to leave school, treated 14 students that day before moving on to other schools in the Merrillville School District.
Gayle Curtiss, a local Dental Hygienist, describes the program as a lower-stress way for children to receive proper dental care since each exam only last 15 to 20 minutes and takes place in an environment where students are already comfortable and familiar with their surroundings.
She adds that the program is a huge convenience for parents, since they no longer have to pick their children up at school during the day, drive them to their dental appointments, wait, and then drive them back to school.
For many students, when the mobile program comes to their school, it’s their first time ever seeing a dentist. The program itself only offers preventative work, which includes an exam, X-rays, fluoride treatments and sealants for students who already have adult teeth. If additional work is needed, students are provided a dental “report card” which outlines issues that still will need to be addressed.
Dr. Eugene Reisinger, a retired Dentist and active participant in the mobile dental program, was the Dentist on staff at Jonas Salk Elementary. Even though he is retired, he said he works four to five days a week with the Smile Care Indiana Mobile Dentist Program, citing that he loves working children after running an adult practice for 43 years.
Payments for the program are remitted through normal health insurance policies, Medicaid or cash/check. For parents who don’t have insurance and are unable to pay for the services outright, grants are available on a case-by-case basis.