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TVHC Increases Access to Oral Health at Helen Turner Elementary
and The Primary School

TVHC celebrated National Children’s Dental Health Month by opening a mobile pediatric dental clinic on Thursday, February 17th, at The Primary School in San Lorenzo.

During the first week of the mobile clinic, I saw 24 kids in two days, out of which a third of them were high-risk and were referred to one of our main clinic sites,” said TVHC Chief Integration Officer, Dr. Sridevi Ponnala.

The TVHC mobile dental clinic will be at the school once a week to perform ex-rays, exams, teeth cleanings and refer all high-risk patients to a TVHC dental clinic for further services.

The Primary School, located in San Lorenzo, serves children 3 to 5-years-old, first approached TVHC back in 2019 to provide dental services and education to their underserved and high-risk students.

This effort is part of The Primary School model created by pediatrician and educator Priscilla Chan, which “brings together all of the adults in a child’s life, including parents, educators, and medical and mental health providers, starting from a very early age.”

Along with providing services, TVHC is also in the classrooms talking to kids about oral health on subjects including how to correctly brush their teeth, why oral health is important, as well as educating parents. 

TVHC was also at Helen Turner Elementary School in Hayward this month to connect with families, educate them on dental health, and connect them to a pediatric dental provider. 

TVHC was previously offering pediatric dental services at Helen Turner Elementary before the pandemic caused school closures and plans on resuming dental services at Helen Turner soon.

The equipment and supplies used to provide dental services to children at these schools were purchased with grant funds generously provided by Fremont Bank Foundation.

Many students at the schools have limited to no access to dental care, especially those with Medi-Cal insurance since most private practice dental providers do not accept Medi-Cal insurance.

“I value that we can bring health to the children in our community,” said Dr. Ponnala.” Our mobile dental clinic is about increasing children’s access at an early age by bringing our services to them, so they have good oral health from childhood to adulthood.”

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