By: Hayley Crandall
Marquette University School of Dentistry offered free dental care and education to students at Rocketship Southside Community Prep earlier this month.
The program offers free screenings, cleanings, sealants, and fluoride treatments to Milwaukee’s southside students, around 74% of which are socioeconomically disadvantaged and may not have access to dental care, according to Elise Hill, associate director of Communications at Rocketship.
With the free care, students are also provided with a dental report for their parents and referrals if they need extra care.
The program, which is funded by Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin and operates with Marquette University, also makes it a point to highlight dental care education.
Rocketship Southside Community Prep Principal Madeline Hawkins believes the school has to go beyond academic work when it comes to providing for students and believes learning can be hindered if students come in with problems such as a tooth ache.
“In order to help our students, we need to think about all their care,” said Hawkins. “We want to ensure our kids are successful.”
Monika Brand is the logistics leader with the program and dental hygienist from Marquette University School of Dentistry. She has been working with the program for around three years now.
Brand sees the position the students are in and understands just how a program like this can help.
“Some of these kids don’t get the opportunity to see a dentist,” said Brand. “The program really educates kids on what to do.”
Rebecca Fisher, another dental hygienist with the program, believes that putting a spotlight on dental education is a very critical part of these appointments with the students.
“There’s a very large emphasis on educating them,” said Fisher. “That’s the critical part because we only see them twice a year.”
This program services 35 schools throughout the Milwaukee area, according to Brand, and is on its fourth year at Rocketship.
The teams consist of two dental hygienists and two dental assistants. Brand estimates they see about 20-30 kids a day with around over half the students at Rocketship attending in total.
The hardest part for them is the logistics regarding traveling and schools, according to Fisher.
The team finds working with students in schools as opposed to in traditional dental offices to be a really nice opportunity
“I love the kids,” said Brand. “They’re so funny.”
“It’s really a fun opportunity to meet new people than in the traditional dental work way,” said Fisher.