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Children's Hospital Opens One-of-a-Kind Dental Clinic to Serve Region's Kids

January 09, 2001

Seattle, WA – A newly renovated, state-of-the-art Dental Clinic at Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center is ready to meet the growing oral health needs of its young patients.

Seattle, WA – A newly renovated, state-of-the-art Dental Clinic at Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center is ready to meet the growing oral health needs of its young patients. The clinic is the first of its kind in the state and serves children with a wide range of medical and behavioral problems who cannot be treated elsewhere. Children’s nationally recognized craniofacial program treats children with facial malformations due to trauma or birth defects and is a leader in the area of emergency dental treatment and cleft and craniofacial anomalies.

A $400,000 grant from the Washington Dental Service Foundation Board will equip the newly expanded clinic. The Washington State Dental Association, the Seattle-King County Dental Foundation and the Snohomish County Dental Foundation also supported the renovation. “This substantial grant reflects a tremendous vote of confidence in our mission and will help us improve and expand important programs for special needs of children,” said Dr. Bryan Williams, director of the Department of Dental Medicine at Children’s.

The clinic opening coincides with the launch of a new children’s oral health campaign in Washington State. The first state to answer the U.S. Surgeon General’s call to make children’s oral health a top priority, a coalition of business, health, labor and children’s groups launched the WATCH YOUR MOUTH campaign this month. WATCH YOUR MOUTH draws attention to children’s unmet dental needs in our state and stresses the importance of oral health as part of children’s overall health and well-being.

“In the last ten years there has been no decline in tooth decay for children between the ages of six and eight. In fact, dental disease is the most common chronic childhood disease making it even more prevalent than asthma - this is a surprise to those who take care of children. But the good news is oral disease is entirely preventable,” says Dr. Richard Molteni, medical director of Children’s.

One in seven Washington children are reported to have unmet dental needs – a rate 50 percent higher than the national average. Only one in five children ages one to three ever sees a dentist, and 40 per percent of Washington employees lack dental coverage.

“A healthy mouth is just as important as a healthy heart,” said Dr. Richard Brandon of the U.W. Washington Kids Count project, a lead agency in the WATCH YOUR MOUTH campaign. “Oral disease keeps kids out of school and later, out of work. Getting our kids mouths healthy and keeping them healthy is not just a priority for parents and their children, but a priority for our elected officials, policymakers and the public. We cannot afford to ignore the serious impact of dental disease any longer.”

The public awareness and education effort includes ads, public service announcements and an informational website, www.kidsoralhealth.org. The WATCH YOUR MOUTH policy agenda includes remedies such as fluoridation, sealants, eligibility of children for dental care, expanded workplace dental plans, increased referrals and screenings through school. For more information about the WATCH YOUR MOUTH campaign, please call 206-616-1833. 

About Seattle Children's Hospital

Consistently ranked as one of the best children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Children’s serves as the pediatric and adolescent academic medical referral center for the largest landmass of any children’s hospital in the country (Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho). For more than 100 years, Children’s has been delivering superior patient care and advancing new treatments through pediatric research. Children’s serves as the primary teaching, clinical and research site for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine. The hospital works in partnership with Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Seattle Children’s Hospital Foundation. For more information, visit http://www.seattlechildrens.org.

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