Since its inception in 2006, dental professionals have answered the Washington Oral Health Foundations (WOHF) call to join the Adopt-a-School program, with practitioners now working in conjunction with 210 schools across the state. More than 120 volunteer dentists are providing emergency dental care for low- income students with no financial resources for treatment, and are getting students out of pain and back in classrooms to learn.
Through the Adopt-a-School program, school nurses triage children and determine their eligibility based on: need for urgent care, familys inability to pay, and lack of a regular dental provider. After screening the child, the nurse contacts the dental office. The nurse faxes the completed screening form to the participating dental office. The childs parent/guardian will contact the dental office to set an appointment. The parent signs a consent form that clearly states the nature of the appointment, and that the doctor has no obligation beyond the one visit for emergency treatment. If the child has DSHS coupons, a participating dentist may accept those for treatment rendered, but no other money should be expected.
The participating dentists only obligation is to take the child out of pain. Some volunteers decide to do further treatment for a child if it looks like another dental emergency is only weeks or months away, but that is entirely up to each dentist. Each family receives a list of low-income dental clinics in their area for continuing treatment.
Dr. D. Andrew Lewis, an Adopt-a-School participant, provided endodontic and restorative services to a child from the Secondary Bilingual Orientation Center in Seattle. He stated, This was an especially rewarding appointment as the patient reported being able to eat again, sleep better and concentrate more fully in school since her initial appointment for two pulpectomies. We look forward to her next appointment where we get to finish another root canal treatment.
Get Involved! Please call Melissa Holt at 800-448-3368 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information about how you can participate in your community. WOHF staff will help identify schools in need, establish communication with school nurses, and provides you will all necessary forms and support.