The Northeast Delta Dental Foundation recently awarded a $2,500 grant to help fund the purchase of dental supplies for Speare Memorial Hospital’s Dental Health Program which provides free or low-cost dental health services to more than 1,600 local children annually.
“This is a real asset to our state,” says Ruth Doane, certified public health dental hygienist at Speare. “Before Speare brought a dental program into local schools, many students had never been to a dentist and had some very serious issues with their teeth. But, now, students are able to receive more expedient care, resulting in less missed school and fewer trips to the ER for dental infections.”
The mission of the Northeast Delta Dental Foundation is to improve the access to, and the quality of, oral health care and education for the public and the dental communities in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. To learn more about Northeast Delta Dental and its Foundation visit nedelta.com.
Speare’s Dental Health
Program was established in 1998 in response to growing concerns from the local
school nurses about the unmet dental health needs of area school children.
Today, the program provides free dental screenings, services and education to
children enrolled at School Administrative Unit 48, and the Ashland, Lin-Wood,
and Warren School Districts.
“We provide dental screenings and fluoride varnish applications free of charge, and cleanings and sealants are offered on a sliding fee scale,” says Ruth. She goes on to say, “No one is ever denied services because of their inability to pay. That’s just one reason why this program is so valuable.”
More than 20 area dental
practices currently partner with Speare to provide care to those referred from
the program with dental concerns. Support is also provided through the Dental
Health Program to families who need financial help, referrals to Medicaid, and
assistance with overcoming other dental care barriers.
Clinics are also offered
monthly at Plymouth OB/GYN and to the Women, Infant, and Children (WIC)
programs in Plymouth and Bristol for at-risk pregnant women and pre-school
children. The program also includes two childcare facilities, the
Lincoln-Woodstock Community Child Care (LWCCC), and Plymouth Head Start (PHS).
It can be tough to find
dental care in rural areas throughout our country. Because
there are still places in New Hampshire where people do not have access to
dental care, Speare has been training dental hygiene students to work in these
settings when they graduate.
With grants from Northeast Delta Dental and local business sponsorships of the annual golf tournament, Speare is able to provide dental services and educate a new generation of dental hygienists while lowering the incidences of cavities in children. Seeing more healthy smiles in our central New Hampshire community is its own reward.