Dental Hygiene Clinic providing area children with free services

By: Alyssa Foster


The IU South Bend Dental Hygiene Clinic hosted a no-charge Kid’s Dental Day on Feb. 15 for families in the South Bend area.

The event provided over $9165 of services to the community for free. A total of 33 children received dental treatment, and families received information on dental care and the importance of creating good habits.

“Through this event we also were building positive relationships between kids and the dental office, which can lead to lifelong oral health. Often people delay going to the dentist because of a bad experience. Our goal was to make this fun and exciting,” Molly Edmondson, director of Dental Education, said.

While most children and their families were not at the clinic during their entire time slot, appointments were reserved in two-hour slots to ensure enough time to educate the kids and caregivers while creating a comfortable environment. According to Edmondson, they made sure to give enough time to each child to prevent them feeling rushed. 

This is not the first year for a Kid’s Dental Day event, though it was quite different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Typically, we team up with HealthLinc on President’s Day to put on the event, Give Kids a Smile. Last year I think we saw over 80 patients,” Edmondson said. “Due to COVID we did a much more scaled down version for this year.”

Children’s dental events are usually put together during February since it is Children’s Dental Health Month. An additional event, Brush Up on Your Health, is also usually hosted during Summer Session I to help kids get ready for school and to provide preventive treatment, including sealants.

As a dental hygiene program, only dentists could complete the dental examinations. However, IU South Bend Dental Hygiene students complete all of the oral hygiene treatments, including cleanings, fluoride, radiographs, sealants and education. All treatments completed by students were supervised by licensed dental hygienists and dental professionals.

Because of COVID-19, the Dental Hygiene Clinic is carefully watching the health situations in the community. Several student-organized events are planned, though the clinic is taking it day by day. 

Dental Hygiene students are planned to attend several community events to promote dental care and the importance of taking proper care of hygiene. 

“We have students working with local schools to provide education on nutrition, physical activity, and oral health. We also have students working with local food pantries to adopt a healthy food policy,” Edmondson explained. “Our students are doing so much within our community while adjusting to life with the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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