We Keep Children Smiling!  
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Who we are.....

The mission of Kanawha County Dental Health Council Inc.(KCDHC) is to promote oral health for children in Kanawha County through education in schools and to provide dental services for children of low-income families.  Our efforts improve the overall quality of a child’s oral health for a lifetime through teaching proper oral health habits and providing regular dental visits that include preventive and restorative care.  Before fluoridated water and more accessible dental care, many children had extensive decay.  School Dental Hygienists recognized the needs of children who were in pain or should have dental care and did not have access to a dentist.  The hygienists called local dentists asking for free care for each child.  Wanting to establish a system to provide for the care of those children, three dentists began coordinating volunteer dentists to provide treatment in their private dental offices.

Once the founding dentists recognized the scope of the problem, the KCDHC was formed.  The Council operates as a private, non-profit organization in alliance with Kanawha County Schools.  In 1955, with the help of School Dental Hygienists and School Nurses, a clinic was established on school property to provide easier access for the children.  The first clinic was located in Tiskelwah Elementary School and remained there until the school closed in the 1990s.  Today free dental services are offered to children at seven clinics in Kanawha County Schools; specifically, West Side Elementary, Sissonville, Bridgeview, Clendenin, and Elk Elementary Schools; Carver Career and Technical Education Center, and St. Albans High School.

Our intention is to benefit every child enrolled in Kanawha County Schools either by providing oral health education, clinical restorative or preventive services to those children whose family’s income is at or below 200 % of Federal Poverty Levels.  Services are provided in school clinics by professional staff and, in special cases, the private offices of volunteer dentists.

Our primary goal is to increase access to dental care and to provide a “dental home” (whether it is with a private dentist or in one of our clinics) for every Kanawha County child.  To achieve this, our dental hygienists screen children in the first, third, fifth, and eighth grades each year.  If a child is in need, he or she is referred to their private dentist or, if they qualify, to one of our clinics.  If a qualified child does not attend a school where a clinic is located, they are transported on Kanawha County school bus (with parental permission) to the nearest school clinic for preventive and restorative services.  Children with special dental needs are referred to volunteer orthodontists, oral surgeons, or pediatric dentists who provide the needed services at no cost when possible.

Our children get good preventive care including dental sealants.  These plastic coatings are safe and effective at preventing cavities, a process that CDC researchers recommend for all children in low-income families.  All KCDHC children are recalled every six months to insure continued preventive care.  Our clinics become the “dental home” for those children who would otherwise not receive oral education and care.  Children need continuity and returning to the same professions fosters confidence.  Besides education, screening, and dental care, our staff does anything else that is required, including holding a scared child’s hand.  At no time does the Kanawha Dental Health Council Clinics charge the parents or children for the dental services we provide.