February is Children’s Dental Health Month at Community Dental

Alonzo Osche

RUTLAND – Take a moment to think about how great it feels when the dentist announces that your child has no cavities! During Children’s Dental Health Month parents and families should pause and consider their dental health plans for the year ahead. We are all distracted by the pandemic, home […]

RUTLAND – Take a moment to think about how great it feels when the dentist announces that your child has no cavities! During Children’s Dental Health Month parents and families should pause and consider their dental health plans for the year ahead.

We are all distracted by the pandemic, home schooling, COVID vaccinations, working from home and just juggling health care, education and employment demands for the whole family.

At Community Dental we are raising the flag for cavity free kids, and reminding everyone that regular checkups are important and shouldn’t be neglected during the pandemic. Studies have shown that a child who is cavity free until the age of three will have a greater chance of staying cavity free for life. The American Dental Association recommends all children visit the dentist by age one.

“You’d be pretty amazed at how many children have cavities before they are two years old if their teeth haven’t been properly taken care of,” said Community Dental Director Dr. Rachel Rivard.

If you think of dental care as you do primary care it will include regular checkups, recommended preventative care and a place to go where familiar health care providers look after your whole family.

“We are the first line of defense,” said Dr. Jeremy Bullock. The Community Health dentist says his goals as a dentist are in synch with the Rutland-based health network’s complete approach to primary care. Dentistry is wrapped into Community Health’s primary care model where overall health and wellness are achieved by leveraging the network’s dental, medical and behavioral health services.

In 2020, over 13,700 patients in the Community Health network took advantage of Community Dental, including over 1,200 children.

“If there are no real issues with your child’s oral health, a family dentist is capable of seeing the whole family, getting your child routine care and checkups and keeping them on a routine of lifetime care and a healthy smile,” Dr. Rivard said.

Pediatricians and dentists at Community Dental work together to educate parents about the benefits of preventative treatments, such as fluoride varnish, good eating habits, learning to recognize breathing or sleeping issues that might be related to dental problems, and scheduling regular checkups.

During a checkup with an infant or child, Dr. Rivard said she can learn if a child is brushing properly; if they are eating healthy foods; if their growth and development of bite problems could affect the mouth or jaw; and detect signs of sleep apnea or grinding or clenching teeth.

“Brush every night and always go to bed with clean teeth,” Dr. Rivard said. “You want to help children brush when they don’t have the dexterity to move the brush around their mouth. The child can start or finish, but the parent has to have a turn.”

Taking these actions will produce results:

-brush nightly with a fluoride toothpaste
-avoid putting a child to bed with a bottle or juice
-give children only water after brushing
-stop the bottle at the age of one
-don’t share spoons or other ways that cavity causing bacteria can be spread from parent to child

Community Dental offices in Rutland and Shoreham are open and are following strict safety procedures. At Community Dental we are always wearing our masks and we ask that everyone wear a mask upon entering our office and keeping it on until the appointment is over, except when having dental treatment. We are also asking patients to come to appointments alone unless it’s with a child and they need a parent or guardian.

Dr. Rivard’s philosophy and passion for accessible dental and primary care are indicative of the quality and compassionate approach her team of dental professionals bring to Community Dental every day:

“I believe that all people deserve access to a beautiful smile and teeth they can be proud of, regardless of their socioeconomic barriers.” Rachel Rivard, DDS

As a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), Community Dental works with the entire community, offering affordable care across the board with sliding scale payments and accepting a range of insurances in addition to Medicaid. Since Vermont is one of 19 states that provides dental care as part of Medicaid, providers in the network understand that patients can take advantage of the dental health care services in addition to all of the other primary care offered by Community Health and Community Dental.

For more information about Community Dental, Community Dental Shorewell , Community Dental Rutland, and all of Community Health’s primary care services, check our website.

Dr. Rachel Rivard is a graduate of the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine. She joined Community Dental in the summer of 2017. Along with her professional interest in pediatric dentistry, Dr. Rivard has been honored with dental and public health awards including the Dr. Solomon Averback Humanitarian Award, the American Association of Public Health Dentistry Community Dentistry and Dental Public Health Award, and the American Academy of Implant Dentistry Award. Dr. Rivard is currently a member of the Northeast Delta Dental Board of Trustees.

Dr. Jeremy Bullock is a 2005 graduate of Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Bullock operated dental practices in Utah, Colorado and Texas before joining Community Dental in 2019.

Dr. Julie M. Pratt, a graduate of Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, joined Community Dental in 2013.

Dr. Alison Landgraf, a graduate of the University of Louisville School of Dentistry, joined Community Dental in 2020.

All Community Health locations are open and accepting patients. For more information about Community Health and updates on COVID, check our website (www.chcrr.org).

Community Health is Vermont’s largest FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center), a network of primary care, pediatric, behavioral health, dental and pharmacy services with offices in Rutland, Brandon, Castleton, West Pawlet and Shoreham. Community Dental offices are located in Rutland and Shoreham, Community Health Pediatrics is in Rutland and Behavioral Health services are available at all of our locations. Community Health Express Care centers, open 7 days-a-week, are located at the Rutland and Castleton Community Health Centers.

The mission of Community Health (Community Health Centers of the Rutland Region) is to improve the health and wellness of all people in the communities we serve by providing access to excellent medical and dental primary care regardless of any financial consideration.

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