One of the most common chronic health problems in children is tooth decay, or cavities. Cavities can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing and learning. The good news is that cavities can be prevented with good oral health habits and preventative care. Developing these habits early in life will significantly improve oral health into adulthood helping to avoid costly and painful dental issues.
Often, a barrier to kids receiving dental care is the need for parents to take off work or pull their kids out of school to get to an appointment. In order to make it easier for families to access dental care, Northwest Colorado Health is now offering dental appointments for kids on Fridays at the Boys and Girls Club in Craig through the School-Based Health mobile dental unit. This program is part of Northwest Colorado Health’s Community Health Center, and all students have access to services, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. We accept Medicaid and private insurance, and patients without insurance have access to our Client Assistance Program to help keep costs affordable.
Dental appointments are with a registered dental hygienist and typically last 45 minutes. We currently offer dental screenings, exams, cleanings, sealants, fluoride treatments and x-rays in the mobile dental unit. Appointments are available the following days from 8:30am to 4pm at the Boys and Girls Club this winter and spring: 02/10, 02/17, 03/10, 03/24, 04/14, 04/21, 05/5, and 05/12.
“We are extremely excited about this partnership, and are grateful to the Boys and Girls Club for the opportunity to expand our school-based health offerings in Craig,” said Stephanie Einfeld, CEO of Northwest Colorado Health. “We began offering school-based health dental services to address an unmet need for oral health care services for children in our area. This new model of care breaks down access barriers for many children and community members in need of dental care. Long term, our vision is to use this mobile unit to serve multiple schools and other locations in the region and potentially add medical and behavioral health care as needs are identified by the community.”
In October 2021, Northwest Colorado Health announced that they had been approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) to expand dental services in partnership with local school districts at our area schools via a mobile school-based health center. Northwest Colorado Health received funding through the American Rescue Plan grant to purchase the mobile dental unit that is used to provide these school-based services. The goal of the funds are to modernize health care delivery and to help advance health equity in medically underserved communities across the state. School-based health centers (SBHCs) are health care facilities located inside a school or on school grounds. As of January 2021, Colorado is home to 69 SBHCs, many of which are operated by Community Health Centers. This is the first school-based health center in our region. Northwest Colorado Health’s School-Based Health mobile dental unit currently serves students in Hayden Valley Schools, Steamboat Springs School District, and has worked with community partners like the Boys and Girls Club to expand offerings in the summer and on days off school.
Preventative dental care for kids is also available Monday through Friday at Northwest Colorado Health’s Community Health Centers and the Dental Clinics in Craig and Oak Creek. Beginning in March, Northwest Colorado Health will also offer expanded dental services in its newly renovated dental clinic space in Steamboat Springs. Insurance, including Medicaid, is accepted and patients without insurance can pay for services on a sliding scale, making dental care more affordable and accessible for families. Call 970-824-8000 to make an appointment for your child at the Community Health Center, or 970-870-4158 for the school-based mobile clinic. To learn more visit northwestcoloradohealth.org.