Kinston Community Health Center brings back in-school dental care — Neuse News

While it might not make them smile, a special report card going home with hundreds of LCPS elementary and middle school students this school year will help them smile.

After a two-year absence due to Covid-19, the in-school dental clinics that Kinston Community Health Center (KCHC) offers with LCPS returned this week, doing X-rays, cleanings, examinations and compiling a report card on the state of each student’s oral health – sent home as a way to connect parents with follow-up care for their youngsters at KCHC.

“We’re happy to be back and we hope to see as many kids as we can,” Dr. Francisco Rios said between seeing young patients at Northwest Elementary School on Tuesday. Rios and his team had not worked in a school since February 2020, on the doorsteps of the pandemic, although more than a hundred K-8 students got help at the clinic last year.

At Northwest, the dental team expected to exam 13 students on its first day back and over the course of the school year will likely see more than 10 times that many during stops at all 13 elementary and middle schools. “We expect to visit three or four schools before the end of December and then next year we’re going to start again and go to the remaining schools,” said Rios, the clinic’s chief dental officer.

There, cavities await, the dentist predicted. “After the pandemic, we have seen in the clinic the number of cavities has increased, probably because of too much time at home unsupervised,” he said.

The services of KCHC’s dental clinic are open to students who do not have a regular dentist – a category into which as many of 35 percent of the district’s K-8 students fall, according to Rios. The work is supported financially by The Duke Endowment as part of an oral health strategy that recognizes the impact of poverty and limited access on dental health.

The first step for parents or caretakers who want their students seen at school is to fill out an online registration form, which is essentially a permission slip. The form is at



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