By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Elementary school children can get a free dental screening on July 31, thanks to a new Oklahoma Dental Association initiative.
Back to School with a Healthy Smile is a one-day free screening event, hosted by dentists who volunteer in order to help parents gain knowledge about their child’s current dental health, so they can make sure children are ready to go to school without dental problems.
Drs. Chris and Tim Fagan, 423 N. Van Buren, and Dr. Jeffrey Danner, Kingfisher, are among the 97 Oklahoma dentists to offer screenings at their offices on that day.
Steffin Schoeppel, communications manager for the Oklahoma Dental Association, said Tim Fagan — president of the ODA — was the driving force behind creation of the Back to School with a Healthy Smile program.
“This is our first year doing it, and we’re hoping to get the ball rolling and have it every year,” Schoeppel said.
“It is important to start the year off on the right track when it comes to your child’s routine dental care,” Fagan said. “Since my specialty is in pediatric dentistry, this cause is especially close to my heart. I believe that it is important for all children to have a dental home and visit the dentist twice a year for a checkup. I hope this program will not only help elementary school children and their parents become more aware of their oral health, but also facilitate change all across Oklahoma and even get the attention of legislators.”
Fagan said the dental community realizes that more than 51 million school hours are lost each year due to dental-related illness and hopes that free screenings will be a solution to this problem.
ODA and the American Dental Association recommend that children visit a dentist at least twice a year for a dental exam and cleaning.
According to the U.S. Surgeon General’s report, dental decay is the second most prevalent childhood disease, second only to the common cold.
Untreated dental decay can worsen, leading to significant pain, eating problems and difficulty focusing in school.
Early detection of tooth decay ensures the child’s teeth remain healthy. This reduces emergency visits to the dentist, avoids unnecessary pain and keeps treatment costs low.
“During the end of July, many Oklahoma parents will begin preparing their children for school to be back in session,” said Lynn Means, ODA executive director. “We know that it may be easy for parents to overlook one of the most important ‘to do’s’ on their back-to-school list — scheduling their child’s dental checkup. ODA member dentists are committed to making sure that Oklahoma children have everything they need to start the school year right.”
Fagan said Monday is the deadline to call for a free screening appointment.
To make an appointment, the Fagans can be reached at (580) 233-0043. Danner can be reached at (405) 375-3857.
Participating dentists are located in 40 cities including Antlers, Bixby, Broken Arrow, Catoosa, Coalgate, Cordell, Cushing, Del City, Durant, Edmond, El Reno, Enid, Glenpool, Guthrie, Henryetta, Kingfisher, Konowa, Laverne, Lawton, Marietta, McAlester, Midwest City, Moore, Muskogee, Norman, Oklahoma City, Oologah, Owasso, Pawhuska, Poteau, Purcell, Sallisaw, Sapulpa, Shawnee, Skiatook, Spiro, Stigler, Tahlequah, Tulsa and Yukon. To see a complete list, go to http://www .okda.org/ParticipatingDentists.aspx.
To see a short video about the Back to School with a Healthy Smile program, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=97H6oWAe1oI.