Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Milwaukee, Wis. – On Tuesday, Columbia St. Mary’s Foundation unveiled the new Ascension Seton Mobile Dental Clinic at River Trail Elementary School.
An extension of Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s Smart Smiles school-based oral health program, the Mobile Clinic will provide urgent dental care to children in need across southeastern Wisconsin. Many of these students are living in poverty and do not have access to dental care in their neighborhood – leaving them at high risk for tooth decay, infection, and dental pain that would otherwise keep them out of school. Since 2001, Smart Smiles has provided children with screenings, teeth cleaning, and application of fluoride and sealants, and oral health education.
“Our Smart Smiles program serves more than 10,000 children a year, 40% of whom have untreated cavities and nearly 700 need urgent dental care,” said Bill Solberg, community services director, Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s. “We hope to treat up to 1,000 children who need urgent dental care or have severe untreated cavities on the Mobile Dental Clinic.”
The Mobile Dental Clinic is designed to help bridge the gap for Smart Smiles students who need urgent care. Instead of students being referred to the Ascension Seton Dental Clinic on the city’s Southside, children will receive care on the coach during school hours. This eliminates transportation issues and improves the student’s overall health and ability to stay in school.
The Mobile Dental Clinic was funded entirely by philanthropy. More than $1 million in generous donations supported the purchase and outfitting of the coach and covers operating costs. Leadership campaign donors include: Ronald McDonald House Charities of Eastern Wisconsin, Evan and Marion Helfaer Foundation, Delta Dental, Children’s Community Health Plan, Greater Milwaukee Foundation – Walter and Olive Stiemke Fund, and Bank of the West.
To learn more about Smart Smiles and the Mobile Dental Clinic “Miles of Smiles” campaign story, visit www.supportcsm.org/smilesthx.