Jeff Wood urges children to visit the dentist at a young age 

The chairman of the Pediatric Dentistry Department at the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry in The City talks about how its children’s clinic is offering kids free dental screenings in February.

Why are you offering free dental screenings to children in February? It’s part of Children’s Dental Health Month. It’s our goal to reach children in the community that mightn’t have access to a dentist. We hope it might give parents a push to make an appointment and bring them in.

What do you hope will be the outcome? We feel strongly that children should establish a dental home so they can get their dentistry needs taken care of on an ongoing basis by a dentist who they trust, rather than only when something goes wrong. We see many cases where slightly older children are coming in for their first time and have pain, swelling, infections and abscesses. We want to reinforce to parents that this can be prevented with ongoing attention.

What is your working method? We like to see children start going to a dentist at the age of 1. We make sure their guardians are taking care of the child’s teeth properly. We look at the family as an individual and make a specific plan for them that’s manageable. We help follow their progress and results with ongoing screenings. If the first solution isn’t working, we look for Plan B.

— Laura Colgan

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Laura Colgan

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