Local Children’s Dental Program Partners with Eastern Washington University

Oct 17, 2019

For more information, contact Kelli Hawkins, (509) 324-1539, khawkins@srhd.org

SPOKANE, Wash. –Spokane Regional Health District’s (SRHD) Access to Baby and Child Dentistry (ABCD) program is partnering with Eastern Washington University’s Dental Hygiene program to provide training in early pediatric dental techniques to senior dental hygiene students during the hygiene program’s yearly Special Populations course workshop on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019.

Now in its fourth year, the Special Populations course workshop will be held at Eastern Washington University’s Spokane campus dental hygiene clinic, 310 N. Riverpoint Blvd, from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. The interprofessional workshop offers instruction and coaching to students on how to address the needs of a range of populations including pregnant mothers, infants and toddlers, adolescents, geriatric patients and children with special health care needs.

During the workshop, Dr. Jared Evans, of KiDDS Dental, an ABCD Dental Champion since 2006, will provide student training in the ABCD dental health curriculum, which includes early pediatric dental techniques and preventive services for young children.

“SRHD’s ABCD program and dental champion have provided training which leads to certification for general and pediatric dentists,” said ABCD program manager Colleen O’Brien. “By partnering with the dental hygiene program we’re able to expand our reach and further our goal of providing family education about early dental care while also offering specialized pediatric dental training to allow more dental health professionals to participate in this care to young children.”

Through the ABCD program, dentists trained by dental champions like Dr. Evans are subsequently certified by the University of Washington School of Dentistry in cert with the Health Care Authority and then matched with Medicaid-eligible children, ages 0-5, who can receive:

  • Three fluoride varnish applications per year
  • Two dental examinations per year
  • Two parent education sessions per year
  • Restorative care as needed

“Oral health is critical for young children because the pain and health impacts of cavities can harm their ability to eat, sleep, focus and learn in school, and can lead to life-long problems,” said Dr. Evans. “ABCD helps improve children’s overall health and gives them a better opportunity for a bright future.”

Spokane was home to the first ABCD dental program and Spokane, along with the statewide program, will celebrate its 25th anniversary in February. At the time of its inception, only 14.2 percent of young Medicaid-eligible children received dental care—that number is now 57.6 percent (FY2018). Today, over 100 dentists in Spokane County are certified to participate in the ABCD program.

In Washington state, almost 2,200 dentists, dental students and pediatric dental residents are trained under the curriculum and all 39 counties now have an ABCD program. Statewide, ABCD advocates more than doubled the percentage of Medicaid-enrolled babies, toddlers and preschoolers who receive dental care – to more than five out of 10 children. 

Parents and caregivers interested in more information and enrollment in the ABCD program are encouraged to call (509) 324-1478. Dentists interested in becoming ABCD certified can call the same number. More information can also be found on the ABCD program page on srhd.org or at abcd-dental.org.