When the Delta Dental Clinic opened at Oyler Community Learning Center, a K-12 school in Cincinnati, some of the high school students had never seen a dentist. At the time, more than 10 percent of students in Cincinnati Public School (CPS) attended school with oral health needs, including tooth decay.
Oral health problems are one of the leading causes of chronic absenteeism and, as a result, can have a significant impact on academic achievement. Children with oral health problems are more than three times more likely to miss school than their peers. There are also proven, school-based interventions that can be used to address oral health issues, including dental sealant programs, mobile programs and programs delivered through school-based health centers.
Nearly five years later, the dental clinic at Oyler Community Learning Center averages 3,500 visits annually. The school-based health center is part of the Cincinnati Health Department and provides critical care to the school’s 700 students and children throughout the community. “The pain and stigma associated with untreated dental problems lead to trouble in the classroom. Oyler School is a shining example of what can be achieved when the community learning center model is embraced,” said Mary Ronan, superintendent, Cincinnati Public Schools, at the center’s opening in 2013.
The center’s staff consists of a program coordinator, two dentists, and three dental assistants who can complete many procedures including exams, X-rays, cleanings, sealants, fillings, stainless steel crowns, root canals and extractions.
While the initial funds for the clinic were contributed by several partners, the operating costs come primarily from Medicaid. In fact, the clinic is one of the few dental offices that accepts Medicaid.
Providing students with access to school health services, including dental health services, is a key component of a healthy school environment and a proven strategy for ensuring students are healthy and ready to learn.
We’re so excited to hear about the great things Oyler Community Learning Center and its Delta Dental Clinic are doing. We’re working to provide schools and districts with
Our work at Healthy Schools Campaign supports partnerships between health and education—the clinic at Oyler being a great example of this type of partnership. Oftentimes schools can partner with other organizations—such at the Cincinnati Health Department—to actually employ the dentists and provide care to kids where they already are: school.