On a late-fall morning at Johnson Elementary College in southwest Denver, college students practiced spelling and performed video games within the fitness center — widespread actions for college kids. However tucked away in a close-by classroom used largely for storage sat one thing somewhat out of the unusual: a dental chair.
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There, dental hygienist Lisa Valdez centered her gentle and peered into the less-than-threatening jaws of a second-grader. One other boy sat close by. coloring and patiently ready for his flip within the seat.
Chopper Topper, a free program established in 1998 by the charity Children In Want of Dentistry, or KIND, offers checkups and dental work to hundreds of Denver-area kids every year. This system goals to forestall dental decay in younger, deprived kids.
Every week, Valdez, who’s the Chopper Topper coordinator, and two different dental hygienists take cellular dental models — a chair, compressor and instruments — to 3 faculties the place greater than 50 p.c of the scholars qualify at no cost or reduced-price lunch. The hygienists educate the kids about oral well being and supply primarily second-graders with dental screenings, fluoride and a sealant, which is positioned within the crevasses of enamel primarily to guard newly erupted, everlasting molars. Mother and father of youngsters who want further dental care are referred to a KIND clinic.
Many of the kids at Johnson Elementary fortunately hopped on the chair for the process, however 7-year-old Raeanna Gallegos was hesitant. Valdez labored to reassure Raeanna that the method is painless, however tears welled within the woman’s eyes. Ultimately, Raeanna agreed to the sealants. Afterward, she jumped from the chair with an enormous smile — all hint of tears lengthy gone.
Requested what she thought concerning the process, Raeanna mentioned the most effective components have been how “good” Valdez was and the bubblegum-flavored fluoride therapy. Due to the sealants, Raeanna is much less prone to develop cavities.
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“Good oral well being for youngsters not solely reduces dental ache and illness, but additionally helps their general well being and improvement, together with wholesome sleep patterns, vanity and tutorial efficiency,” mentioned KIND government director Ellie Burbee.
Throughout the 2016-17 college 12 months, Chopper Topper hygienists visited 97 faculties, screened four,642 college students and positioned 9,598 sealants. The staff hopes to increase this system to guard extra college students, which suggests they’ll want further hygienists and tools.
Title of charity: Children In Want of DentistryAddress: 2465 S. Downing St., Suite 210, DenverYear it began: 1912 (Chopper Topper was created in 1998)Variety of staff: 13 (Chopper Topper, three.5)Annual price range: $1,120,975 (Chopper Topper, $196,113)Share of funds that goes on to consumer companies: 78 percentNumber served final 12 months: 14,162 affected person visits (Chopper Topper, four,642 kids screened)