MICA offers a wide range of dental services to residents of central Iowa. Dental care can be difficult to access for low-income populations like those we serve, but lack of quality dental care is a very serious issue. Inadequate preventative and restorative dental care are the primary causes of dental emergencies, which are both financially difficult and stressful for Iowa families that experience them.
We are also concerned with providing quality dental care to children, since early preventative care sets a good foundation for the rest of a child's life. School sealant programs and the I-Smile Home Initiative are both designed to set up a safety net for children who may not otherwise have access to early preventative care.
We see a lot of patients who have never received a good oral hygiene education or preventative care. Since they were never taught the basics, they do not know what to pass on to their children. When they come to us, we can stop the cycle by not only providing affordable treatment, but also by ensuring that their children grow up practicing proper dental hygiene. We both encourage and enable prevention for low-income individuals and families in central Iowa.
I-Smile Dental Home Initiative
The I-Smile Dental Home Initiative is a program that helps Iowa's children connect with dental services.
I-Smile has four objectives: Improve the dental Medicaid program, recruit and retain dentists in underserved areas, incorporate dental clinics within rural hospitals, and improve the dental support system for families.
There are 24 regional I-Smile coordinators who are licensed dental hygienists. They serve as the point-of-contact for public health agencies, families, health care providers, school districts, and dental offices. The goal of the I-Smile Dental Home Initiative is the development of an integrated system that provides: early identification of dental disease, prevention, improved care coordination, and stronger parental involvement. Ultimately, at-risk children who are currently excluded from the dental care system will be reached and will have a dental home.
For more information about I-Smile in Boone, Hardin, Marshall, Story, and Tama counties, please contact MICA's I-Smile coordinator. You can also find out more about I-smile at their website.
School Sealant Program
MICA's School Sealant Program provides routine dental screenings to third and seventh grade students throughout school districts in Boone, Hardin, Marshall, Story, and Tama counties.
Along with a routine screening, MICA's dental hygienist applies a sealant to any tooth in need of one at no cost to the student's family. These sealants act as a barrier between bacteria and the enamel of the teeth.
According to the CDC, children receiving dental sealants in school-based programs have 60% fewer decayed surfaces in back teeth for up to 2-5 years after a single application.
A primary goal of the School Sealant Program is to make sure that children are not only receiving checkups, but also seeking and obtaining the proper dental care their teeth require. The program connects the families of uninsured students to dental insurance options and works with parents to make sure each student receives a checkup with a local dentist within 12 months. Referrals are made to all parents whose children’s teeth show a need for treatment.