Bethany for Children & Families gives local kids a smile

BETTENDORF, Iowa  --  Bethany for Children & Families 'Give Kids a Smile' Mobile Dental Program provides dental care to children who do not have access to oral health care.

The mobile dental bus travels to over 120 elementary, middle, and high schools in  Rock Island, Henry, Mercer, Scott, Jackson, and Clinton counties. 12 volunteer licensed dentists and staff members provide exams, cleaning, and sealants. The services are free to the students.

"As a providing dentist, unless they walk into our office, we don't have connection with them," volunteer dentist Dr. Fred Burnham said. "This is a great mean to screen, provide care to patients, and find patients."

"We take the dental care directly to the kids to their schools, Director of development and communication for Bethany Dylan Davis said. "We can serve throughout the entire school year. We serve now between 3,000 to 3,500 kids a year."

Burnham said 40% of the children they see are in need of dental care. Bethany partners with the school nurses to find the children in need of the dental bus.

"If they are uninsured or under-insured," Davis said. "We strive to serve as many children who would not otherwise have dental care."

Kids can receive dental care on the bus however many times they need. Bethany will also provide transportation to follow up appointments if needed.

"It's great," Burnham said. "You couldn't ask for more. It's a niche that is needed. If you start with them when they are young, then they will have fewer problems when they are older."

Bethany is looking for more dental staff and schools that would like to join the program can contact Bethany for Children & Families.