Mobile Dental Clinic Bring Care To Students

Four Oaks Elementary third grader Amelia Vann (right) has her teeth checked by Jawanna Murphy (left) during a tour of the CommWell Health dental mobile unit.

Dental care is rolling out to students in Johnston County Public Schools via a $1 million mobile dental care unit through CommWell Health’s Kids in School Health Initiative and Partnership (KINSHIP).

The Community Mobile Dental Clinic Program KINSHIP was officially opened at Four Oaks Elementary on Wednesday. The mobile clinic will provide JCPS students access to dental care at their school.

“KINSHIP was developed six years ago as a vision to bring mobile dental care to schools for children who would otherwise be challenged to go to the dentist,” said Chief Executive Officer for CommWell Health Pamela Tripp.

Dental services will include primary oral health services, such as dental examinations, cleanings, x-rays, fluoride treatments, sealants, dental hygiene instructions, restorations, extractions, and stainless steel crowns. Referrals will be made for advanced dental care at one of CommWell Health’s dental practice locations or another dental specialist as determined appropriate by the treating dentist.

The mobile dentist office is currently slated to visit students at Four Oaks Elementary, Four Oaks Middle, Meadow School, Polenta Elementary, Selma Elementary, Smithfield-Selma High, South Johnston High, and West Smithfield Elementary. CommWell Health representatives said care could eventually be provided at all schools, but they want to be sure to address those with the largest need first.

“It’s a dentist office on wheels. Most anything they can do at a brick and mortar dentist, they can do right here,” said Johnston County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Renfrow. “We’re glad we’re part of this collaborative effort.”

A crowd of Four Oaks Elementary students and staff, along with several JCPS administrators and CommWell Health representatives, gather for the ribbon cutting of the new CommWell Health dental mobile unit.

CommWell Health purchased the million dollar mobile clinic with the assistance of a $500,000 grant, according to Tripp.

“This will benefit Johnston County students because students may not always have an opportunity to receive dental care,” said Tripp. “Children can’t learn if they’re hurting. We’re so happy that we’ll be accessible to the children and hopefully help them get more A’s in school,” said Tripp.

Tripp added that CommWell Health plans to assess the demand for services in Johnston County Public Schools, and they will provide a report card to the Board of Education on the data and the number of students who are impacted by the mobile care unit.

“A lot of the times people put off going to the dentist because they’re so busy and preoccupied.  This will minimize distraction, so it doesn’t impede student learning, and we’re partnering with families as well,” said Renfrow. “Any time we can help our parents put our students in a position to be successful, it’s our responsibility to do it. We made that happen today.”