PORTLAND, Ore. – On a day when many children will be collecting candy, a school-based dental clinic that is free to low-income students is reminding kids to brush well.
The Creston Children’s Dental Clinic is also going about its daily business, cleaning teeth, filling cavities, and educating students and their families.
“We know we fill a gap, a safety net for the low-income kids that don’t have access to care. And the reality is you need three things for good oral care. You need education, prevention and access to care,” said Dr. Kurt Ferre, a retired dentist who volunteers and leads the clinic’s board of directors.
The clinic has been around for more than 40 years. It serves more than 1000 students a year who come for multiple visits for prevention and treatment. The philosophy there is you can’t have good overall health without good oral health.
Ferre said there is not much worse than an ongoing toothache, especially if you are trying to focus in class.
“It’s there. You can’t get rid of it, and it interferes with sleep. It interferes with speech, eating and especially for learning. Healthy kids learn better.”
The Creston Children’s Dental Clinic is available to any Portland Public School Student who qualifies for free or reduced lunch, and who does not have private dental insurance.
Donations and volunteer hours are a big part of keeping the clinic open for students in need.