Inter-Lakes Community Action Partnership (ICAP) hosted Delta Dental's mobile dental truck in Flandreau August 12-16 to help children who wouldn't otherwise have access to dental care.
A total of 49 children were treated during the truck's weeklong visit, receiving $39,126 in care. Treatment included exams, cleanings, preventive treatments like fluoride varnish and sealants, and cavity fillings.
According to ICAP Health Specialist Mendy Herke, the value of the mobile unit's visit was realized almost immediately.
"We planned to screen patients Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning to determine treatment plans for the rest of the week," she said. "Within two hours on the first day, the entire week was filled with appointments. I have never had that happen before."
Of the 50+ youth screened, most were in dire need of treatment that required multiple appointments to complete. Unfortunately, the high demand and limited resources meant not every patient received the full recommended care.
"We filled up so fast, we had to call people scheduled for Tuesday morning to explain that their appointment may be limited," said Herke. "On top of that, I had a waiting list of around ten individuals and many people stopping in and asking for appointments that I had to send away."
Herke said the dental staff worked very hard to complete as much treatment as possible. Despite the busy schedule, attending dentist Dr. Taylor Valesquez, DMD, MPH, was impressed by the site visit.
"The families did a great job of showing up," he said. "We never had a lapse in treatment due to missed appointments and the families were thankful for the care."
This is the first time the mobile dental bus has made a scheduled stop in Flandreau. It resulted from a partnership between regional non-profits ICAP and Interlakes Area United Way (IAUW), and Delta Dental of South Dakota.
Delta Dental managed, operated and staffed the mobile truck while ICAP acted as the site partner and handled administrative duties and logistics.
IAUW, which serves Moody, Lake and Miner Counties, acted as the site sponsor and contributed the $2,500 stipend.
"We've sponsored the dental truck in Madison for a number of years and it's always been successful," said IAUW President Lori Gustaf. "However, in recent years we've recognized a need for additional service to our region. The visit to Flandreau expanded Delta Dental's reach and provided vital oral healthcare to children who need it most."
According to Delta Dental, untreated tooth decay is common for children and often leads to other problems.
"A toothache can make it hard for a child to eat, sleep, and pay attention in school," Herke said. "Good oral hygiene is important for development and can lead to better overall health."
ICAP and IAUW will host the Delta Dental Mobile Program again in Flandreau August 17-21, 2020.
Pictured: From left to right, Mendy Herke, ICAP Head Start Health Specialist; Dane Hagen, Bus Coordinator; Darleen Bothwell, Dental Hygienist; Heather Voight, Dental Assistant; Madison Humann, Dental Assistant; and Dr. Taylor Valasquez, DMD, MPH.