South Florida Hospital News
Tuesday January 19, 2021
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January 2021 - Volume 17 - Issue 7
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Healthcare Network Opens New Pediatric Dental Office for Underserved Children in the Nichols Community Health Center

New practice will provide comprehensive dental care to approximately 9,500 children annually
 
October 21, 2020  – Healthcare Network, a nonprofit organization working to reduce health disparities, is expanding its dental care program with the opening of a new pediatric dental practice in the Nichols Community Health Center located at 12655 Collier Blvd.
 
Committed to filling gaps in care, Healthcare Network’s pediatric dental practice, with 16 operatories and two sedations suites with private recovery rooms, will improve access to appropriate dental care for thousands of underserved children living in Golden Gate and nearby communities.
 
With great support from the Naples Children & Education Foundation through grants from the Blueprint Partner Program, the new practice will provide families a convenient and comfortable environment where children will receive comprehensive dental care through services such as sealants, examinations, cleanings and fluoride treatments and nitrous oxide sedation with plans to introduce IV sedation in the future. Sedation helps calm children who otherwise would be too nervous or frightened to undergo routine, long or sensitive procedures. 
 
“While we are all susceptible to tooth decay, oral disease disproportionately affects underserved populations, especially children,” said Dr. Douglas Keck, dental director for Healthcare Network. “Children at most risk are from lower socioeconomic families where barriers to care such as caregiver low health literacy, language proficiency, dental insurance and geographic access are prevalent.  Access to care is also greatly limited by the number of dentists who accept Medicaid or provide variable fees for the uninsured.  This new practice will be instrumental in improving access to preventive services and reducing oral health disparities.”
 
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), children from low-income families are 20% less likely to get dental sealants than children from higher-income families and are 2 times more likely to have untreated cavities. Tooth decay is one of the most common childhood diseases. If left untreated it can cause missed school, impaired development, lower education performance, poor behavior and diminished quality of life. 
 
Establishing a dental home at an early age is critical to helping children become accustomed to dental visits and preventing dental diseases. Children should have their first dental visit within 6 months of their first tooth coming in. According to the CDC, more than 1 in 5 children aged 2 to 5 years have at least one cavity in their baby teeth. Because oral diseases are progressive and compounding, untreated dental problems considerably worsen over time and are often an indication that something else is wrong.
 
Along with pediatric dental care, Healthcare Network’s Nichols Community Health Center offers obstetrics and gynecology, pediatric, adult and senior care, integrated behavioral health and drive-thru pharmacy with convenient care coming soon. 
 
Medicare, Medicaid and most major insurances are accepted, and a sliding fee discount is available for eligible patients in need of financial assistance. Call 239.658.3000 for an appointment or visit www.healthcareswfl.org for more information about Healthcare Network’s primary care services. 
 
About Healthcare Network
Healthcare Network is committed to ensuring quality healthcare is accessible to everyone in our community, regardless of income or insurance status. Founded in 1977 to serve migrant farmworkers and their families in Immokalee, Healthcare Network now provides care to approximately 50,000 patients annually in practices throughout Collier County including the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile® and the Health and Smiles Mobile units. Healthcare Network provides primary healthcare services including family care, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, senior care, and pharmacy as well as dental care and integrated behavioral health for both adults and children. The organization’s newest location, the Nichols Community Health Center, is a 51,000-square-foot primary care medical center in Golden Gate. For more information, visit www.HealthcareSWFL.org, or to schedule an appointment, please call 239-658-3000.
 
 
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