KEYS HEALTH: KIDS’ DENTAL HEALTH IS ON THE MOVE

The Florida Keys Area Health Education Center (AHEC) will launch its mobile dental unit for kids in January. CONTRIBUTED

Starting in January 2022,  Keys AHEC will expand its services to bring a mobile dental unit staffed with a dentist and a dental hygienist to Monroe County schools throughout the Keys. The service is being offered through a fundraising partnership with the Waypoint Foundation and the Smile Maker program.

The program currently limits its health services to students. Services will include dental exams, X-rays, cleanings, fillings, sealants and dental education. There will be a $10 fee for service and no other costs for parents. 

Ribbon-cutting celebrations for the mobile dental unit will take place at 9 a.m. on Jan. 4, 5 and 6 at Key Largo School, Stanley Switlik Elementary in Marathon and Gerald Adams Elementary in Key West, respectively.

Appointments for the dental unit will be necessary. To schedule an appointment, call 305-743-7111 ext. 220. Parents must complete initial patient packets, which can be printed from keysahec.org/dental.

The Florida Keys Area Health Education Center (AHEC), founded in 1990, provides community-based health education and medical services throughout Monroe County. Services include school-based primary health care to youth in Monroe County, as well as other community health support and education. All programs are provided at no cost to the families. Michael Cunningham, CEO and director of AHEC, has provided his full support for this initiative to establish a comprehensive oral health program for medically vulnerable children in the Florida Keys.

Smile Maker builds on the program currently operated by AHEC that provides dental exams and sealants to elementary and middle school children at six school locations. Paid and volunteer staff include nine registered dental hygienists, six certified dental assistants and two dentists. AHEC will operate the mobile dental clinic. With services being provided on school grounds, during school hours, the Medicaid population will be reached.

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