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SMILES Project provides dental screenings


Last updated 5/17/2007 at Noon

FALLBROOK — SMILES Project provides dental screenings and dental care to those in need. Last week, kindergarteners in Fallbrook and Bonsall received dental screenings conducted by local dental professionals. This would not be possible without the help of many volunteers: Drs. Flores, Stewart, Drury, Desimone and Goble, along with Susan Duling, RDH, Erika Feltham, RDH, Elaine Sarles, RDA, Linda Sprague and others.

Founded by a group of local residents, Don Mykkanen and dentists Randy Carlson, DMD, and Katie Stewart, DMD, SMILES Project is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that holds annual screenings in elementary schools. Many children never receive dental care, which can contribute to chronic pain, difficulty eating, self-esteem issues and poor concentration in school.

The laws this year have also changed and California Education Code Section 49452.8 now requires that children have an oral health assessment (dental checkup) by May 31 in either kindergarten or first grade, whichever is his or her first year in public school. Assessments that have occurred within the 12 months before the child enters school will meet this requirement. The law specifies that the assessment must be done by a licensed dentist or other licensed or registered dental health professional. This new law may present financial burdens if dental insurance is not available. The SMILES Project screening will fulfill this new requirement.

SMILES Project will also be providing free dental screenings for all ages at the annual Fallbrook Health Fair coordinated by the Fallbrook Healthcare District. Saturday, May 12, is the date for this year’s Health Fair, to be held at the Community Center located at 341 Heald Lane. Screenings will be available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.


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