Clark Foundation Supports Dental Care in School-Based Health and a New Health Center in Gilbertsville-Mount Upton School
| Dr. Leah Carpenter (left) provides dental care to a patient at a school-based health center
The story of dental care in Bassett's school-based health program is a story of continual growth, thanks in large part to support from the Clark Foundation. While preventive oral care has been provided to all students enrolled at Bassett's school-based health centers in recent years, Bassett's new chief of dentistry, Dr. Leah Carpenter, has recently been able to offer restorative care to school-based health patients as well.
From 2015, when 96 young patients visited Dr. Carpenter 237 times, to 2017, when 300 students needed her services 750 times, the dental program in school-based health has experienced substantial growth.
A recent grant by the Clark Foundation will help Bassett to extend and expand these important services.
In the past year, young people made more than 33,000 visits to health care providers at Bassett's school-based health centers.
If school-based health centers were not available, most area students would not get annual exams. Very few of them would receive dental care of any kind. Yet dental cavities are the most common chronic illness among children in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Although dental cavities may sound like a minor problem when compared to heart disease or cancer, they can have serious long-term consequences, particularly when they begin in childhood. If tooth decay is not treated during childhood, it creates a variety of short-term problems for children, including pain and illness, difficulty eating, repeated absences from school, problems speaking, and problems paying attention.
Long-term consequences of untreated tooth decay are even worse, especially if this decay extends into adolescence. Consequences include increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke; increased risk of morbidity; and complications during pregnancy.
So it's very important to ensure that young students receive appropriate dental care. An effective way to do that is to provide care where they are every day: at school.
Funding from the Clark Foundation will also assist Bassett in opening a new school-based health center at Gilbertsville-Mount Upton School.
Each year, Bassett's school-based health program receives requests from area schools to open a new school-based health center in their school. Bassett meets with each school board and also with members of the community, considering the site carefully and going forward with a project only when the town and school are fully prepared and committed to the process.
Funding from the Clark Foundation will enable Bassett to purchase an examination table, a dental chair, and other essential equipment for the new center at Gilbertsville-Mount Upton School, including blood pressure monitors and a medical-grade refrigerator/freezer where vaccines can be safely stored.
If you would like to support the school-based health program, you can make a gift by calling the Friends of Bassett at (607) 547-3928. You can also make a gift online.