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Nonprofit dental clinic now offers pediatric sedation

Salt Lake Donated Dental Services’ pediatric sedation program comes to the rescue of children with dire dental needs by allowing multiple procedures to be done at once.

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Pain and shame » However, the damage extends beyond physical well-being to social development and mental health.

"You get a lot of patients who try not to smile," Lord said. "They don’t talk a lot, because they’re embarrassed by the look of their teeth — even young children."

At a glance

Salt Lake Donated Dental Services

Where » 1383 S. 900 West, Suite 128, Salt Lake City.

Free care » Provided on a daily lottery basis to individuals at or below the federal poverty level. To learn more, call 801-983-0345.

Discount care » Clients at 101 to 200 percent of the federal poverty level pay for services at significantly reduced rates. To learn more, call 801-972-2747.

Pediatric sedation » Now available one day per month for low-income children with extensive dental needs.

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And then there’s the pain, increased infection and premature loss of baby teeth, which serve as placeholders for their permanent ones.

Stephanie Jensen, Salt Lake Donated Dental’s executive director for the past nine years, said the new sedation program could ramp up to add an extra day per month as needed. September’s session is already booked, she added.

Monday through Friday, the nonprofit is busy providing free dental services to clients of all ages at or below the federal poverty level and discounted services to those at 101 to 200 percent of that threshold.

"They just don’t have the same choices that someone with private insurance might have," Jensen said, noting that costly crowns, root canals and bridges are simply out of reach.

Salt Lake Donated Dental also provides dentures at a cost of $220 per arch rather than the $1,000 to $1,200 clients could expect to pay elsewhere.

The pediatric sedation program is currently funded by Larry H. Miller Charities, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Foundation, and the George and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation.

According to the UDOH survey, even though dental decay can be prevented, it continues to be the most common, chronic childhood disease in the nation, impacting the low-income population in particular.

"Donated Dental has been around for quite awhile and provides vital help for the community," said UDOH Dental Director Steven Steed. "This additional ability they’ve made available just adds one more level of value to their already important clinic."

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cmckitrick@sltrib.com twitter: @catmck

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