Dental Care

Project Smile provides dental screening, dental education and makes arrangements for dental care for at-risk children in our community, including financial support.

Educational programs in the schools seek to improve dental health of children by providing toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss for classroom brushing and flossing and for regular use at home. Because of these programs students are less likely to miss school because of dental related illnesses and with better dental health they can learn pain-free.

images

The components of dental care services include:

  1. Each participating school is asked to make a daily commitment to a brushing and flossing routine to instill in students the importance of good dental hygiene at home. Our past experience shows that daily classroom brushing significantly reduces the percentage of cavities and on other dental problems that we detect during screenings.
  2. We ensure that parents are involved in their childrens dental hygiene by requiring parent consent for the services that Project Smile provides. Consent forms in both English and Spanish provide basic information regarding the student and parent names, current dentist, and dental insurance. The forms also include the results of dental screenings that are sent to the parents.
  3. We provide general dental health and hygiene instruction to the students on the same day that screenings are done in each school. This is done in cooperation with the Larimer County Health District, Colorado State University Pre-Dental students, and our volunteer dentists.
  4. Dental screening is made available to every student for free on a day specified by each participating school. This done annually and sometimes scheduled twice during the year to ensure we reach all students. Parent consent is required for the screening but they may elect not to participate. Dentists from the community do a visual examination that is recorded by a dental assistant. Students may receive a fluoride treatment if pre-approved by the parents. Results of the examination are then forwarded to the parents with recommendations for further care if needed.
  5. If follow-up treatment is recommended, Project Smile, in cooperation with local dentists and the Health District, will ensure that appointments are made once permission is received from parents.

Vision Care

Project Smile, in partnership with the Fort Collins Lions Club, provides vision screening at the same schools and at the same time that dental screening are done. We recognize that the early years in a child’s life are critical in the development of good vision. Kidsight, a Lions Club community service program, is cooperating with Project Smile to provide a simple, non-invasive and cost-free vision screening test to children at our participating schools. Parental permission is required. The testing procedure is painless and is done with a special digital ocular device that is non-invasive. This screening is an excellent complement to the State of Colorado – mandated Snellen test for distance assessment.

image_vision

Vision testing screens for the following conditions:

  1. Hyperopia (“Far-sightedness”) – a condition where a child has difficulty in seeing objects that are near. This can be corrected with glasses.
  2. Myopia (“Near-sightedness”) – a condition where a child has difficulty in seeing objects that are distant. This can be corrected with glasses.
  3. Astigmatism – a condition in which the cornea as an abnormal curve causing out-of-focus vision.
  4. Anisometropia – this is a condition that adversely affects the development of binocular vision in infants and children. Often the brain will suppress the vision of the blurrier eye in a condition called Amblyopia (“Lazy Eye).
  5. Strabismus – a condition where the eyes are not directed to an object simultaneously.

Once the screenings are completed the results are recorded for each child and analyzed by eye specialists. These results are later forwarded to the child’s parents with recommendations for further eye treatment if needed. Project Smile can then assist with making eye appointments and providing any needed financial assistance for prescription glasses.