(Charlotte, NC, August 23, 2022) Millions of children in the United States face extra challenges to access routine dental care. The lack of a sufficient number of providers, transportation barriers, and an inability for parents to take time away from work are a few of the reasons these kids may go years without a dental check-up. Add to that the supply and labor shortages the pandemic caused over the last two years, and it’s the perfect storm for unchecked, rampant decay in children living in underprivileged communities.
Even before the pandemic caused major complications to reach kids in need of dental services, America’s ToothFairy and Septodont provided resources and tracked the impact of safety-net dental clinics that serve at-risk communities through their National Screening Initiative. For the first time since Covid-19 shut down schools—the primary location to provide screening services—participants are beginning to rebound from the devastating impact of the pandemic.
From July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022, nonprofit dental organizations that receive resources from America’s ToothFairy reported screening 55% more kids on average than the previous year, and 74% more than during the first year of the pandemic.
“While the number of children to receive dental screenings still lags behind pre-pandemic reports, without the support of our National Screening Initiative from Septodont, those numbers would be far, far less,” Jill Malmgren, Executive Director of America’s ToothFairy noted.
“We are grateful to Septodont for backing this important initiative,” Malmgren added. “Without their support over the years, America’s ToothFairy would not be in a position to provide the essential resources our program members need to bounce back from the challenges of the last two years.”
One of the safety-net clinics that receives support from America’s ToothFairy, Sonrisas Dental Health in San Mateo, California, screened ten times the number of children in the last 12 months than they did the year before. The team at Sonrisas increasingly pairs with partner organizations to conduct targeted outreach and create referral pathways for children with restricted access to dental care, and school screening events are a key component of their plan. Despite the pressures of the pandemic, supply shortages, and staffing challenges, Sonrisas is on track to provide 20% more visits this year than pre-COVID.
“COVID-19 has created many barriers to care for our low-income, minority patients,” Sonrisas’ Director of Development, Maura LeBaron-Hsieh reported. “Financial grants and products from America’s ToothFairy positively impact and make a huge difference. Without this support, the cost of care would make it impossible to provide access to oral health care to under and uninsured children. Our partnership with America’s ToothFairy is key in providing access to high-quality oral health care, oral health education, and hygiene supplies to children in our services area.”
Likewise, Augusta Regional Dental Clinic in Fisherville, Virginia nearly doubled the number of screenings they conducted in the last year compared to the previous year.
“The grants and donations have been a game changer for our clinic this year,” Augusta’s Executive Director, Sophie Parson reported. With the cost of supplies on the rise, the clinic’s staff expected that they would not be able to offer complimentary dental hygiene products to the kids enrolled in their school program.
“We simply could not include that in our budget anymore,” Parson said. “It was a difficult decision since we know many children in our community do not have access to such goods. But thanks to America's ToothFairy, every child coming through our clinic's doors and participating in our school-based program has received a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss. We are also grateful for the hands-on educational materials we have received. They make our school session attractive to our young patients and way more fun. Children are excited to come and spend time with us checking their teeth and learning more about oral health.”
“With back-to-school events coming up, we are confident that the children that benefit from our support of the National Screening Initiative will reach the two million mark within the next month or so,” remarked Paul Mondock, who serves as President of the Americas at Septodont, and as Treasurer at America’s ToothFairy.
“That’s an amazing milestone because these screening events are more than an opportunity to gather data on the state of oral health in marginalized communities. Screening services at schools and daycare centers help to connect children who have urgent and emergent dental needs with dental homes that will not only address their immediate needs but will also provide the preventive and educational services they require to have healthier smiles into adulthood.”
“We are deeply grateful for the support of our sponsors, including Septodont, for helping our program members push through a very challenging time, and for ensuring that we can reach another two million children together in the years to come,” Malmgren added.
Since 1932, Septodont’s broad product range has provided the dental community with the most reliable and efficient solutions to their operatory challenges. Septodont’s unrelenting commitment to quality, innovation and service has earned it worldwide recognition as a market leader in pain management and regeneration products. Today, hundreds of thousands of dentists in more than 150 countries rely on Septodont’s dental products. To find out more about Septodont, visit www.septodontusa.com.
About America’s ToothFairy: National Children’s Oral Health Foundation
As a resource provider, America’s ToothFairy increases access to oral health care by supporting nonprofit clinics and community partners delivering education, prevention, and treatment services for underserved children. Since its inception in 2006, America’s ToothFairy has distributed more than $23 million in donated products, educational materials, and financial grants to improve oral health outcomes for children and youth in need.