LSU Health New Orleans Newsroom

Starting the School Year with a Healthy Smile

LSUHealthNO Pediatric Dental Back to School Checkup

Follow Us Subscribe RSS Feed

Media Contact

Leslie Capo

Office: 504-568-4806

Cell: 504-452-9166

Dozens of underserved children got their smiles ready at a back-to-school dental checkup on August 14, 2017. The free community service was held at the LSU Health New Orleans After-Hours Pediatric Dental Clinic, sponsored by Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children (HSHC): The Foundation of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

LSU Health New Orleans dental and dental hygiene students volunteered their time to provide professional services under faculty supervision and enjoy some fun and games with patients and their families. The children, many of whom may otherwise not be able to access dental care, received free dental exams and cleanings, learned about proper oral care and left with a backpack filled with school supplies provided by MCNA (Managed Care of North America, Inc.).

Getting an annual back-to-school dental check-up, a ritual for many families, is often out of reach for marginalized children in Louisiana and across the country. “Many who can’t afford dental care simply go without, and this can have a negative impact on school performance,” said Janice Townsend, DDS, MS, Associate Professor and Chair of Pediatric Dentistry at LSU Health New Orleans. “Children with poor oral health miss more days of school, have difficulty concentrating and often have trouble socializing. LSU Health New Orleans and HSHC share a common goal of finding ways to increase access to care so more children realize the benefits of good oral health.”
LSUHealthNO Dental Back to School Checkup
Despite the fact that dental disease is preventable, tooth decay is increasing and has become epidemic among the youngest children in the U.S. Children among low-income and minority families have a higher incidence of oral health issues.

Financial, time and other constraints limit access to care. Many low-income families do not have dental insurance or money to pay for dental visits. In addition, many working parents are unable to take time off during the day to take their children to the dentist.

LSUHealthNO Dental Back to School Checkup
LSU Health New Orleans School of Dentistry has found innovative ways to break down barriers to dental care for underserved children. The after-hours clinic is one of those ways according to HSHC President Dr. Neophytos L. Savide. “We are honored to work with LSU Health New Orleans and the After-Hours Pediatric Dental Clinic to help children get started on a great school year and lifetime of opportunity,” said Savide.

LSU Health New Orleans After-hours Pediatric Dental Clinic opened in 2016 with support from a grant from HSHC. Dental students and pediatric dental residents, under faculty supervision, treat children and adolescents by appointment in the clinic on the LSU Health New Orleans School of Dentistry campus, 1100 Florida Avenue.

Services include examinations, x-rays, cleanings and sealants, as well as restorative services (fillings, crowns, pulp therapy, and space maintenance) and extractions. The clinic is open two evenings a month, from 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. and one Saturday per month, from 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Appointments can be made by calling 504-941-8201. The clinic will accept Medicaid and LaCHIP, and others can benefit from the discounted care under the school’s student fee schedule.

The Honorable Helena Moreno, representing House District 93 in the Louisiana State Legislature, stopped by to learn about the clinic and see firsthand the services and convenience it provides.

She also saw how LSU Health New Orleans Pediatric Dentistry makes going to the dentist fun. The Tooth Fairy, Sparkle, Tooth and Paste played games and puzzles with the kids, and there also were fur friends, movies, popcorn, and pizza, too!

Rep. Helena Moreno at LSUHealthNO Dental Back to School Checkup