Dental disease is at “epidemic” levels among California children, according to the U.S. Surgeon General, and low-income children are disproportionately affected. The California Health Interview Survey by the Center for Health Policy Research at UC Los Angeles also found that dental problems keep California students out of class an estimated 874,000 days a year, costing schools nearly $30 million in lost attendance-based funding.
This is why over the past three years, the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC has partnered with California Resources Corporation (CRC) and the California Teachers Association (CTA) to host a series of free dental mobile clinics throughout the state.
Each of these week-long dental clinics provide much-needed dental services for up to 150 low-income elementary, middle school and high school students and their families. Students receive dental exams, cleanings, and those with the most critical needs receive dental services in specially equipped mobile dental vans. In addition to receiving services onsite, the dental clinics encourage families to visit their regular dentists for preventative care.
This partnership has already made a huge positive impact, and the need for free clinics keeps growing.
Taft, California Clinic
Two dental clinics held in partnership with the Taft City School District in September 2017 and the Taft Union High School District in January 2019.
In 2017, USC conducted a thorough dental screening of over 1600 Taft City School District elementary students and report data showed that about 35% of those students need dental care either immediately or very soon.
In 2018, USC conducted a thorough dental screening of over 700 Taft Union High School students and report data showed that 9.5 percent of students were in severe need of immediate dental care and another 48.5 percent had initial visible signs of dental caries.
Over 2,300 students screened and 4,080 dental procedures conducted for students and family members to date. These procedures are valued at over $262,000 worth of dental treatment.
Los Angeles, California
One dental clinic held at John Muir Middle School October 2018 in partnership with LAUSD and the UTLA.
USC conducted a thorough dental screening of almost 200 students at John Muir Middle School and report data showed 10-15% of all students had never seen a dentist before, were limited English speakers, and needed extreme dental treatment immediately.
More than 1500 dental procedures conducted for students and family members to date.
California students provided with dental screenings
procedures to date for students and family members
children received in-depth care or treatment
average number of dental appointments each child receives
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