GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.-
A clinic that provides a variety of medical care to all residents including children is celebrating 25 years in Mesa County.
One of the areas Marillac Clinic specializes in is dental care, which according to recent reports, remains the greatest unmet health need among U.S. children.
“I went into a surgery because my teeth were really messed up,” said Hannah Braden, who before being adopted, didn't always have such a great smile.
When she was just 5 years old, Hannah came into the lives of the Braden family as a foster kid with her three biological sisters. But when it was required for her first dental check-up, the new parents were shocked at what they learned.
“When we brought Hannah in, 19 of her 26 teeth had decay in them,” said Cynita Braden, Hannah’s mom.
But in order to prevent any trauma from happening, dentists at the Marillac Clinic in Grand Junction advised on one-day surgery, as opposed to several procedures.
“I wanted them to have a positive experience,” said Cynita. “So it made me feel good that she can have that done all at one time, so that she doesn't have that fear of going to the dentist.”
During the operation, dentists removed six of Hannah’s teeth and the rest were capped.
“We have her out of pain,” said Dr. Kathryn Hart, pediatric dentist with Marillac Clinic. “At the time, she was in pain and all the teeth are now healthy. So hopefully when her permanent teeth come in, they will maintain that health.”
Officials say that unfortunately, cases like Hannah’s are pretty common.
“Dental disease is one of the leading diseases with children, but it's 100 percent preventable too,” said Kristy Schmidt of Marillac Clinic.
Dentists say that all children should establish a dental home by the age of one, and any idea that kids don't have to see a dentist until the age of three should be diminished.
“So if you could do preventative things early before the age of three, and you can get them to the age of three without any cavities, its more cost effective, its less emotional, and it sets them up for a lifetime of good oral health,” said Dr. Hart.
For Hannah, she now brushes her pearly whites three times a day and thinks highly of her cavity free smile
“They look really good,” said Hannah.
Marillac Clinic was awarded a series of six grants from Caring for Colorado over the past 10 years. The grants total nearly $760,000 which will improve access to oral health services in the Grand Junction area.
For more information on the Marillac Clinic, click here.
For more information on Caring for Colorado, click here.