Letters

Letters 10-20-2014

Doctor Dan? After several email conversations with Rep. Benishek, he has confirmed that he doesn’t have a clue of what he does. Here’s why...

In Favor Of Our Parks [Traverse] City Proposal 1 is a creative way to improve our city parks without using our tax dollars. By using a small portion of our oil and gas royalties from the Brown Bridge Trust Fund, our parks can be improved for our children and grandchildren.

From January 1970 Popular Mechanics: “Drastic climate changes will occur within the next 50 years if the use of fossil fuels keeps rising at current rates.” That warning comes from Eugene K. Peterson of the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management.

Newcomers Might Leave: Recently we had guests from India who came over as students with the plan to stay in America. He has a master’s degree in engineering and she is doing her residency in Chicago and plans to specialize in oncology. They talked very candidly about American politics and said that after observing...

Someone Is You: On Sept 21, I joined the 400,000 who took to the streets of New York in the People’s Climate March, followed by a UN Climate Summit and many speeches. On October 13, the Pentagon issued a report calling climate change a significant threat to national security requiring immediate action. How do we move from marches, speeches and reports to meaningful work on this problem? In NYC I read a sign with a simple answer...

Necessary To Pay: Last fall, Grand Traverse voters authorized a new tax to fix roads. It is good, it is necessary.

The Real Reasons for Wolf Hunt: I have really been surprised that no one has been commenting on the true reason for the wolf hunt. All this effort has not been expended so 23 wolves can be killed each year. Instead this manufactured controversy about the wolf hunt has been very carefully crafted to get Proposal 14-2 passed.

Home · Articles · News · Features · Dental Day
. . . .

Dental Day

Robert Downes - October 20th, 2008
Parents and their kids will have something to smile about this Saturday, Oct. 25 at 10:30 a.m., when a Dental Health Morning program takes the stage at the State Theatre in Traverse City.
Hundreds of kids are expected to attend the educational event that brims with fun, including a 25-cent matinee showing of “The Sandlot” baseball flick, along with a skit on orthodontics and dental hygiene handouts of 1,000 toothbrushes, floss and toothpaste.
The event is one of many creative ways that children and adults are being helped by the Dental Access Program of the Traverse Health Clinic and Coalition (THC&C) and Northland Dental Hygienists.
“We screened 4,040 kids last year through the Traverse Bay Give Kids a Smile program,” says Rene Louchart, dental health coordinator for THC&C. “At the State Theatre, we’re going to offer more awareness of preventive oral health services and habits that parents may not be are of.”
Louchart and her team have much to be proud of: recently, she was named “Dental Hygienist of the Year” in Michigan in large part for her role in organizing the Dental Access Program that provides dental hygiene services and screening people in five counties.

A GROWING NEED
“We have a growing need for these services at a time when many people are losing their jobs, yet the cost of health care is rising,” says Arlene Brennen, RN, who heads up the Community Health Access Program (CHAP) in Traverse City. “In this five-county region alone, we have 15,000 adults living at low income levels, making around $10 per hour or less.”
She adds that by one estimate, the number of Americans who do not have dental insurance is two-and-a-half times as many as those who do not have health insurance.
Even middle class families are slipping into the demographic known as the “working poor,” with the loss of jobs. Some families are in a state of shock, facing new economic realities; unable to pay healthcare bills; and may be unaware that help is available. Others have transportation issues and may have difficulty just getting their kids to the dentist.
“Many of these people may not know about the community dental services that are available to them,” Brennen notes. “Fortunately, we have a lot of programs for children. It’s adults who have the most problems with accessing dental care.”
Adults do receive some help through the programs of the CHAP center, located across from Logan’s Landing on Airport Road in Traverse City.
Currently, four retired dentists, Drs, Don Pichè, Stephen Beeker, Royce Beers and Tom Littlefield, conduct referral exams on about 500 adults per year. Adults who are uninsured and have no access to Medicaid or Medicare are referred on to 30 volunteer dentists in the area who provide emergency services.
Those services are expanding to take some Medicaid patients, generally available to those who make less than $10 per hour.
CHAP has an even greater reach through its medical outreach program that’s available to adults, ages 18 and older in Leelanau, Benzie and Grand Traverse counties.
“Participants who get a CHAP card can come to see our physicians and nurses here. We have about 1,800 volunteers in the medical community who donate their time, as well as a wonderful optical and pharmacy program,” says Angela Lyon, who helps coordinate the programs. She recently received a national award for her work in community outreach and health access programs.

JUST FOR KIDS
Children have better options for dental care through a variety of programs.
“In a lot of families, it’s the husband and wife who need dental care the most because their children have coverage through Medicaid or through Delta Dental’s Healthy Kids Program,” Louchart notes.
School screenings are common, with kids encouraged to fill in a “Dental Health Report Card” to identify where hygiene needs to be improved, and to head off dental problems.
Michelle Smith is a local hygienist who has launched a program to treat children between the ages of 10-21. Launched last year, her outreach program is supported by Grand Traverse County and Dental Clinics North.
“My program offers cleanings, X-rays and sealants to kids in need who qualify,” says Smith, who’s smile is as bright as her dream of expanding dental care to children. Working out of the Youth Health Wellness Center (at the Career Tech Center) in Traverse City, she saw 140 kids last year and hopes to take her program to new heights in the year ahead. “Our hope is to be able to take some mobile equipment and go into the schools to promote better dental hygiene.”
For the dental health team, one of the biggest challenges is just getting the word out to the community that help is available.
“There’s such an enormous need to know out there. When we held a program at a local school, all of our brochures were gone in a flash,” says Lyon. “Parents are looking for help and need to know their options.”

Check out Dental Health Morning at the State Theatre in downtown TC on Saturday, Oct. 25 at 10:30 a.m. Also, check out www.gtchd.org/health, or call the Traverse Health Clinic at
231-935-0668 or the Youth Health Wellness Center at 231-922-6416 for care options.


 
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