KinderSmile Foundation Provides Access to Oral Health Care to At-Risk Youth

Submitted by KinderSmile Foundation 

The mission of KinderSmile Foundation is to provide underserved children with access to comprehensive dental care and to educate children and their families about the importance of dental hygiene as related to total health. We envision a future where every child has access to a dentist, and preventable dental diseases are eradicated. We provide access to care and a link to a barrier-free brick-and-mortar Dental Home, while focusing on Education, Intervention, and Prevention in order to empower patients and their families with methods to combat dental disease.

The dental field poses a unique high risk of transmission of COVID-19, due to close proximity to unmasked patients and unavoidable aerosol droplets produced during dental procedures. Notwithstanding the risks, the increase in need, and the escalating costs of PPE and infection control supplies due to this pandemic, KinderSmile Foundation continues its mission of providing comprehensive dental care to at-risk patients while providing a safe environment to staff, volunteers, and the community. Unlike many private dentists who implemented additional fees per visit to offset the extra costs, consistent with KSF’s mission, we are not seeking any additional fees from our patients.

The current COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted economic and racial disparities in access to care. The high unemployment rates and lack of full time schooling are undoubtedly increasing the number of uninsured and underserved families. KSF’s Founder & CEO, Dr. Nicole McGrath-Barnes, tirelessly works to raise awareness of inequities in oral health access, and was selected to receive the 2020 Benco Lucy Hobbs Humanitarian Award, by the National Council of Negro Women Montclair Branch, and was one of the four finalists for the 2020 NJ Biz Public Health Heroes. In October 2020 she will be acknowledged for her service and dedication to dentistry by the New Jersey Dental Association, at their 150th Anniversary Event.

We are grateful to Partners for Health Foundation, whose continued support has provided preventive and comprehensive care to at-risk uninsured and underinsured children throughout our programs and in our Dental Home KinderSmile Community Oral Health Center Bloomfield.