HOUSTON - March 29, 2012 - Preventative dental health services are important in maintaining overall health, but in Spring ISD it is important for education as well. Several students from Carl Wunsche Sr. High School helped with limited oral exams for over 80 Jenkins Elementary School students recently.
Dr. William Gray, a dentist with the City of Houston - Sharpstown Dental Health Services, conducted the exams for second and third graders at Jenkins. The school is targeting these grades because this is the age when permanent molars are coming in.
“Most of the time, decay happens in the fissures of the back teeth. Sealants and fluoride varnishes can help prevent this,” said Gray. Students in need of sealants will be scheduled for further treatment in the dental facility at Wunsche.
Students from Lorie Jones’ dental class at Wunsche were able to observe Dr. Gray at work, assist in maintaining a clean work area, record exam findings and make dental hygiene presentations to the children.
“This is an amazing opportunity for our students to get hands-on experience and to see how professionals work in a public health setting,” Lorie Jones said.
The Wunsche students were learning much from Dr. Gray, but Lorie Jones said the focus was on the children. “Our goals are to make them healthier, prevent decay and educate them about good hygiene practices,” she said. Lorie Jones added that good dental health promotes increased school attendance.
These exams were made possible through a grant from the Wrigley Jr. Company Foundation in conjunction with the American Dental Hygienists’ Association. This grant was one of only 12 awarded nationwide.
Mia Jones, school nurse at Jenkins, said there was a lot of interest in this program among the Jenkins families. “Parents were really excited. We had a big turn out and this is great. It is making a visit with a dentist much more accessible to many of our children,” Mia Jones said.