Free Dental Clinic For Low- Income, Uninsured Children

150 children received dental care

Kids who haven’t visited a dentist in a while, are in pain or uninsured saw a dentist for free Saturday  morning.

Sioux Empire Smiles held a free clinic for children 18-years-old or younger.

With 15 dentists and 10 hygienists volunteering, 150 children got their teeth checked out.

The program director says that was the maximum amount they could treat.

He says due to that, and the fact that 56 percent of kids in South Dakota have cavities, 22 percent of which are untreated; the need for this service is big.

“Dental cavities are one of the most chronic diseases in children,” says Pediatric Dentist Damon Thielen. “It’s five times more common than asthma and if you work in any kind of child care you know how common asthma is right so cavities are times more common than that.”

Thielen says cavities are very preventable if treated.

But if not, kids can suffer from tooth aches, infection or facial swellings from tooth decay.

“You try to get them exposed as early as you can, you try to go over oral health instructions and brushing habits and those sorts of things, or even having conversations with parents of young kids and tell them those are important things to prevent some of these problems from happening later,” says Thielen.

The free clinic was funded with the help of Sioux Empire United Way.

This is the second Sioux Empire Smiles clinic.

Last year, 110 kids were treated.