Ellington Elementary students get dental checkup from Smile Illi - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Ellington Elementary students get dental checkup from Smile Illinois program

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QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

Here's a startling statistic. Almost 53 percent of all kids in the Quincy Public School district are from low income families.

That makes it hard for some families to provide a simple dental checkup for their kids. That's why Ellington Elementary School offered a free dental clinic for kids Wednesday.

For some of these kids, this was their first time sitting in a dentist's chair, and for some of them their first cavity.

Officials at Ellington say because of high poverty rates in the district, providing free services like this can help a lot. For Kamysia Shaw, a 1st grader at Ellington Elementary, this wasn't her first time in the dentists chair.

But it was the first time she got her teeth cleaned at school.

"When they put the water in my teeth it kind of tickled and we had to dry my teeth, and it was kind of fun. I loved it," said Kamysia.

Kamysia was one of 40 kids at Ellington Elementary Wednesday that got free dental care from Smile Illinois, a school based oral heath care provider that serves schools, child care, Head Start and WIC centers in Illinois.

The program provides free dental care to qualifying children. Eric Hart, Senior Vice President of Operations for Smile Programs, said the program estimates that roughly 10 percent of its care is uncompensated. They do accept all insurances, Hart added.

With 45 percent of students at Ellington able to qualify for this service, Principal Anne Cashman says helping out her students was a priority.

"Anytime we can help families make it easier on them, make it more affordable, I'm thrilled with that opportunity," said Cashman.

Joi Eddy, a dentist with the program says her team examines, cleans, and puts a sealant on the children's teeth. All services that could cost upwards of $100.

Eddy says it's a good idea for all children to get an oral exam, for many reasons.

"Just to make sure that there's no cavities or pain, or anything that could cause a bigger problem because that can inhibit learning process, sitting in a classroom with a lot of pain or anything like that," said Eddy.

And as for Kamysia, she says if the mobile dentist comes back, she'll be right back in the dentist chair.

"The other one was kind of scary but this one, not at all," said Kamysia Shaw.

You can contact Smile Illinois about providing services to your child's educational center by calling 888-833-8441, or clicking here to visit their web page.

The Adams County Health Department offers free or reduced dental services to children whose family meets low income criteria. For more information call the Adams County Health Department at 217-222-8440.

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