Shreveport-based Willis-Knighton Health System is re-launching its Children’s Dental Services program that gives uninsured children access to a dentist, even though their family can’t pay for the visit. Dozens of Shreveport-Bossier dentists are associated with the program. Bonnie Hughes oversees the program for Willis-Knighton. She says the hospital’s role is to get children enrolled, and then schedule them with a participating dentist whose practice is near their home.
“We have made this program into something so much bigger and better," Hughes said. "Now, children through our program can go and visit dentists at their offices so that all of the state-of-the-art equipment and expertise from their staff is being given to these children.”
Shreveport dentist Bill Hall said there are too many families who can’t afford dental insurance, but they don’t qualify for government assistance and children are falling through the cracks. Area dentists encounter this problem, he said, and are working together to address it.
“It’s not a tightly run volunteer charity," Hall said. "It’s almost just a group of doctors who’ve gotten together and want to do more than we could singly.”
The Northwest Louisiana Dental Volunteers are co-sponsoring a health fair at the WK Community Education Center on Feb. 16 from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. The focus will be on children’s dental screenings. Families will also be able to fill out an application for the Children’s Dental Services program. Hughes will be making a presentation to school nurses later this month to encourage them to make referrals to the program.