Donating services: Dentists help to prevent tooth decay
A simple dental procedure guards against cavities in children.
Four Prescott dentists donated their time and services Friday to apply dental sealant on the 6-year molars of about 60 Prescott Unified School District first- and second-grade students.
Retired dentist Ronald Moore suggested the sealant program to PUSD Superintendent Kevin Kapp, who readily agreed to the program.
The school district provided bus transportation to the dental offices, if parents could not take the students, dentists signed on to apply the sealant, and the Prescott Education Foundation paid for the materials.
Taylor Hicks Elementary School first-grader Chloe Carr was a little nervous before Dr. Paul Wulff applied the sealant to her teeth.
Chloe has been to the dentist before, but Wulff is not her dentist, and she had heard the other students saying the sealant tasted bad.
Chloe's mom, Kellie, had never heard of the dental sealant. When school officials sent information home about the program, she asked her friends about it.
"It seems like a good way to protect her teeth," Kellie said.
Sealant protects the grooved and pitted surfaces of the teeth, especially the chewing surfaces of back teeth. Even if children brush and floss carefully, it is hard to clean the tiny grooves and pits on molars.
In addition to Wulff, dentists Jason Campbell, Leon Wachtel and J.S. Goodwin donated their time and services to the sealing program Friday morning.
Wulff's office normally closes on Fridays. However, when Moore called about the program, office manager Kristie Richardson said the entire office staff agreed to participate.
"This is the type of thing that we like to participate in," Richardson said.
The dental sealant costs about $40 per tooth. Insurance companies usually pay for a portion of the costs, because the sealant is a preventive procedure.
Parent Missy Townsend said her family does not have dental insurance, and she appreciated the dentists offering the sealant free of charge.
Although Townsend had not heard of the sealant, her husband had it applied to his teeth when he was a child.
Townsend signed her first- grade daughter, Sara, up for the program.
"With all the costs of medical and dental care, this is definitely a benefit," Townsend said.
Sara indicated that having the sealant application was kind of fun.
Applying the sealant is a simple procedure: clean, etch and apply.
Wulff is already looking forward to participating in the program again next year.
"This was fantastic. It was a fun day. I only wish more students had participated," Wulff said.
Moore agrees. "Out of the 600 students eligible, only about 60 signed up for the sealant. Hopefully, we'll get more next year," he said.
Kapp expressed his gratitude "to the dentists and their offices for offering this preventive dental service to our students in Prescott Unified School District. I want to specifically thank Dr. Ron Moore for initiating and coordinating this wonderful idea. Once again our generous Prescott community comes through for our students."