Smiles Across Minnesota expands

Smiles Across Minnesota expanded its statewide preventive dental program to the Moorhead School District on March 10, the organization announced. The program will help improve the oral health of uninsured and underinsured children.

"When Children's Dental Services and Delta Dental of Minnesota introduced the Smiles Across Minnesota program to us, we realized it fit a strong need of our communities as on average 40% of our children are eligible to receive these services," said Lynne Kovash, superintendent of the Moorhead School District, in a press release.

Dental services will be offered to all students at participating schools and administered by a local dental hygienist and dental assistant employed by Children's Dental Services.

"We anticipate serving 500 to 800 children in the first year," said Sarah Wovcha, executive director of Children's Dental Services and co-chair of Smiles Across Minnesota.

Children's Dental Services will provide care for children on public assistance. Uninsured students who are income-eligible will receive free care through the program, paid for by charitable corporate and foundation contributions. If a family already has commercial insurance, those children and their parents will be encouraged to visit their previously established dental home. If they do not have a primary dentist, children will be referred either to a local dentist or the family will be assisted in finding appropriate services. All children receiving care will need parental consent.

Delta Dental of Minnesota has provided $20,000 in start-up funding for Moorhead. The Medica Foundation has pledged an additional $100,000 and United Way of Cass-Clay an additional $30,000 for three years of sustaining funding. Dakota Medical Foundation has also committed funding and provided local support for the program.

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