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UI Dental Students Change Lives In Rural Iowa
WAUKON, IA (CBS2/FOX28) - University of Iowa dental students are providing much needed services to two rural Iowa school districts. Theyre offering free dental care to underprivileged children. Four times a year, UI dental students travel nearly three hours to Allamakee County.
They set up shop at schools in Waukon and Postville, leaving healthier smiles behind. The dental office, inside the Allamakee Community School District building comes as a surprise. It looks like a regular dental clinic.
You come in here, you see a whole different world, Dave Herold, Superintendent from the Allamakee Community School District said.
They counted my teeth! Exclaimed McKyan Egan, a pre-kindergartener that received a free appointment on Thursday said.
Project SEALED provides a place where McKyan can get his teeth healthy. He has several cavities and needs a lot of care. Hes learned something about dentists thanks to the care hes received from the UI students.
Dont worry! he said about his getting dental care.
Making kids like McKyan comfortable inspires third year dental student, Chase Wicker. Wicker is from a small town in Northwest Iowa.
My plans are to practice in rural Iowa, Wicker said.
The UI students do everything from basic examinations to fluoride treatments and sealants when needed. McKyans older brother, Rylan, said its a cinch.
Felt like it was painless, Rylan said.
The clinic is so important because there simply arent enough dentists to fulfill the Medicaid need in Allamakee County.
The Waukon clinic sees about 35 percent Title 19 students, and in Postville, they see about 60 percent Title 19, Emily Moore, the Project SEALED Coordinator for UI said.
A lot of our eligible children they ended up having to go somewhere else and of course many of the kids and families didnt have the funds to pay for those trips. Theyd have to go quite far like Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Herold said.
A University of Iowa grant funds the clinic. Moore said that it costs $6,000 to bring the students in each quarter. Equipment costs are additional. Its a clinic, Rylan and McKyans mom is thankful for.
They do a wonderful job, and its great for the community, Danielle Egan said.
It definitely inspires me more, because you can definitely see the need in some of the kids, Wicker added.
The program has been going on for two years. So far, more than 700 elementary and middle school students have received dental care through the program. Kids like McKyan who have more extensive needs are referred on to the University of Iowa.