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Tooth Taxi brightens Estacada kids' smiles

by: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - Dr. Josh Moffitt tells Jessica Tello-Hernandez what to expect during her appointment while Joseline Moreno waits for her fluoride.Last week, the Tooth Taxi came to Estacada.

The Tooth Taxi is a mobile home converted into a high-tech dental clinic. Its mission is to bring free dental care to Oregon children, especially those who are uninsured, have never seen a dentist or are experiencing pain.

The Tooth Taxi program began in 2008, and since then has given $3.4 million worth of dental care to more than 12,000 children.

Oregon children’s oral health is among the worst in the nation, According to The Dental Foundation of Oregon.

The Tooth Taxi’s staff (including a 1968 Estacada High School graduate) treated children in the Clackamas River Elementary parking lot last week.

Jake Goertz, Tooth Taxi dental assistant, explained how the program works.

by: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - The Tooth Taxi brings free dental care to children throughout the state.The Tooth Taxi staff concentrates its efforts on schools with a high percentage of students qualifying for free or reduced lunches.

The Tooth Taxi gets in touch with school leaders prior to visiting.

They have short appointments to assess the oral health of the students who have returned the necessary paperwork.

Each child is given fluoride, a toothbrush, a small mirror, floss and toothpaste.

They invite the children who need extra care, such as fillings or extractions, to return for longer appointments.

The Tooth Taxi usually stays at a school for about a week.

Goertz said the Tooth Taxi has been coming to Estacada for about five years. It usually returns every two years, more frequently based on need.

The Tooth Taxi was formed through a partnership between the the Dental Foundation of Oregon, OEA Choice Trust and Oregon Dental Service. It’s funded through donations.

For more information or to donate, visit smileonorgon.org/about-the-tooth-taxi.




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