New Dental Screening Requirement

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, April 23, 2007

Armed with a small flashlight and a tongue depressor, orthodontist Dr. Don Rollofson is peering into 5-year old Alexis Gubrud’s mouth with a small flashlight. 

"Open for me – have you been to the dentist before?  Bite. “

Rollofson is spending a few hours giving free dental screenings at David Reese Healthy Start in Elk Grove.  

“We need to find out if they have fillings, if they have cavities, and also to maybe help counsel the parents on where they might get treatment.”

Alexis’s mom, Shawna says they came because of a new state law, requiring all kids to have an oral health screening by May 31 of their first year in public school:

“I think it’s a good idea that you have – I mean, dental health is important.”

That was the idea behind the law says Elk Grove Unified School District Nurse Cindy Dawkins.

  “Essentially a half a million children, 500-0thousand children in CA kindergarten every day have some form of pain or dental infection.”

Schools statewide and the California Dental Association are getting the word out about the new requirement through free screenings, hand-outs and public service announcements.  Dr. Rollofson says the goal is to get children early care:

 “If we are able to see some cavities and get them some counseling and education then they can get in and get those things fixed when they’re easy to do, before there are abscess and before the kids are sick and before they miss school.”

Statewide, data from the screenings will be collected and used to find gaps in dental care and services.  Parents can opt out of the screening if they choose. 

“Does you mom help you brush your teeth?"

As for Alexis, she gets a clean bill of dental health….but she doesn’t take all the credit.

"sometimes my mommy helps me."