YANKTON, S.D. (KCAU) – This week, a local non-profit in Yankton is helping kids receive free dental care through a mobile clinic program.
United Way of Greater Yankton has partnered with Delta Dental to host the mobile clinic program for the 12th year.
“It’s a great benefit to the community to have the dental bus back here in Yankton after we weren’t able to have it with the coronavirus pandemic last year. So, we’re happy to provide a safe option for people to get access to dental care this year,” said Kiersten Hansen, United Way of Greater Yankton.
Kiersten Hansen, programs coordinator with United Way of Greater Yankton, said the program helps kids from their first tooth to 21-year-olds who don’t have dental care and insurance.
Kids who live in the Yankton community or more than 85 miles away from the nearest clinic can have the opportunity for them to be seen.
“Tooth pain is one of the most common reasons why children will miss school. So, having this service available for the children allows them to seek out dental care that they wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to go to,” said Dr. Holly Heien, Delta Dental.
Dr. Holly Heien, a dentist with Delta Dental, said having the program at no cost relieves parents from having to worry about any treatments their kids will need.
Hansen mentions the dental clinic comes once a year to provide thousands of dollars of dental care for youth, which is an investment in the community.
“Dental care is expensive, and it allows us to help with the overall health of children and also helps us with relieving some of the stressors that parents have with raising children and that we can help them out with this one little part of it.” Dr. Heien.
The mobile clinic already adapted to many of the COVID-19 safety protocols for the appointments, along with taking temperatures, preventive screening, and wear face shields.
Hansen said the program also provides oral health education and helps set up appointments with local dentists for future visits.
“Hopefully, this opportunity allows kids to have a more confident smile, and I know that families that come here really, really, appreciate that opportunity for their children to get this dental care,” said Kiersten Hansen, United Way of Greater Yankton.
On average, the mobile dental clinic sees between 30 to 40 children in Yankton a year, but this year, they’re seeing about 30 kids.