Contact: Ara Najarian

Phone: (323) 353 - 4062

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. - In an unprecedented effort to address oral health disparities in the Sacramento region, Center for Oral Health (COH)and LIBERTY Dental Plan, in partnership with Health Net and Access Dental plans, will kick off "Early Smiles" - a collaborative and innovative School Based Oral Health Program - on June 29, 2016, 10:30 a.m. at the State Capitol, South Side Entrance.  The initiative has set a goal of serving 12,000 children in Sacramento-area elementary schools in its first year. 


The need for - and the benefit of - this initiative is tremendous: California children with dental pain miss 874,000 school days annually which costs school districts $29 million in attendance fees.


"Dental disease is the number one reason kids miss school and it disproportionately affects children in low-income communities," said Dr. Conrado Bárzaga, Executive Director for the Center for Oral Health.  "The Dental Plans that are supporting this initiative are true leaders by providing for a proven, proactive, preventive-care approach."


COH has partnered with LIBERTY Dental Plan, Health Net and Access Dental to increase access to preventive dental care and navigation services for underserved children in Sacramento, starting with services the summer session.  This School Based Oral Health Program will provide checkups and preventive treatments for children that might otherwise not receive these services.


The network of dental providers from LIBERTY Dental Plan, Health Net and Access Dental, will serve as the dental home for children identified in need of restorative care and offer case management and ensure their members get the dental care they need.