The Kern County Children’s Dental Health Network (KCCDHN) has been an important oral health resource for children, parents and schools in Kern County since December, 1999. The program was developed to address a need, identified from the community, which resulted in lasting partnership for over eighteen years between the West Kern Community College District (WKCCD) /Taft College Dental Hygiene Program and the Kern County Superintendent of Schools (KCSOS) office. Through the support of tobacco tax dollars, these two educational institutions strategically delivered comprehensive dental services to children (2-5 years of age) at pre and elementary school sites throughout Kern County to increase access to dental care.
KCCDHN continues to utilize pre and elementary schools as a base to provide dental services to children solely under the guidance of The Kern County Superintendent of Schools. This model has resulted in a very effective and efficient means for children to access care. The children have demonstrated they are comfortable receiving dental care in the familiar environment of their classroom or cafeteria. Together they interactively learn about the importance of good oral hygiene while surrounded by friends and teachers. Climbing into a clinical chair for a screening and cleaning is easy when they see their fellow classmates do the same.
Since December, 1999, The Kern County Children’s Dental Health Network has been mobilized to 974 pre and elementary schools. At the school sites, they have contributed dental services to children by providing 38,927 prophylaxis (cleanings), 55,895 fluoride treatments, applied sealants to the teeth of 4,650 children and educated 54,570 students through chair-side presentations. The amount of preventative services provided equates to approximately $6,890,079 in dental services for Kern’s children. As a result, the amount of decay identified in children has decreased since the year June, 2000 from 53% to 25% in June, 2017.