Since its beginning in 1986, The Hi Desert Children’s Dental Clinic has served the Antelope Valley by providing free dental care to children from low income families with no dental insurance. At the time of its creation, the need for dental services became apparent when dentists visited many local schools in the area. They discovered over 10% of the children examined had never visited a dentist; 20% had not seen a dentist in over a year; and approximately 30% of the children seen needed extensive dental treatment.
Each year, dentists and hygienists coordinated by Dr. Gib Snow offer and provide screenings for the children of the Antelope Valley. The school visits are provided purely as a community service and include no soliciting or self-promotion. Each screening visit begins with an interactive presentation about the benefits of good oral hygiene. Dr. Snow, or one of the other dentist volunteers then does a visual examination of each student. After the screening, the school health clerk is given a report of the screenings. The health clerk then alerts parents about their child’s dental problems and is given the information needed to apply for the needed services from the Hi Desert Children’s Dental Clinic. The families apply to qualify under the guidelines set by L.A. County, and family income, size and dental insurance available determines the ability to qualify for treatment through the clinic. Once a child’s application is approved, the Clinic Coordinator arranges for the child to be seen by a dentist in a private dental office. The office visit and the treatment are provided at no charge. Referrals also may come from school nurses and community organizations. The clinic provides bi-lingual services to meet the needs of the community.
The Hi Desert Children’s Dental Clinic is made possible through the volunteer efforts of local dental professional and generous community support.