North Shore Health Care Foundation
Our mission is to benefit health care for those who live, work and visit in Cook County
Oral Health

Call 387-2334
Mail applications to:
PO Box 454
Grand Marais, MN 55604

Oral Health Sliding Fee Scale Application

 January 2014 REPORT

The 2013/2014 school year began with dental screenings in November at Cook County ISD and Sawtooth Elementary. For this school year, it was decided to screen every other grade and next year we’ll screen those who were not screened the previous year and so on and so forth. As a result, 55 children were screened. In December, we screened 21 children at Great Expectations. Good news to report from Great Expectations and the Grand Marais Family Dentistry’s office is that all the children at Great Expectations are now cavity free. There had been one remaining child with cavities who has now been seen and helped through the Oral Health Task Force. Birch Grove screening is scheduled for January 7th, 2014.

The OHTF committee members, along with Georgene Daubanton worked with Principal Gwen Carmen and Kay Borud, School Nurse, to institute a follow-up parent program for those children who were identified with possible dental issues at the screening. The day of the school screening, a letter is sent home with each child reporting what was seen in the “Peek in the Mouth”. Three months later, a school follow up letter will be mailed to those parents from the school nurse whose children might have a dental issue as a result of the “Peek in the Mouth” screening. A series of questions are included in the letter. The response will help us to help the parents whether financially, answer any questions, or perhaps transport their children to the dental office. Georgene will work with Kay Borud and prepare those letters for mailing. The dental office will also come in to play throughout this process in reporting if any of the children were seen in their office. This of course will show a measure of success with the three month follow-up letter.

Karl Hansen, Executive Director of the North Shore Health Care Foundation, represented the Oral Health Task Force on WTIP on Tuesday, January 4th. The interview was fabulous. If you missed the interview you can go on WTIP’s web site and catch it. Karl plays an important role in this organization with his help, vast knowledge and financial expertise is always appreciated.

Georgene attended the Early Childhood Screening on Wednesday, January 5th at Sawtooth Elementary School for those children entering Kindergarten next year. The Oral Health Task Force provides brochures, applications, toothbrushes, crayons and coloring books. This is an opportunity to meet the parents and their children. In case they don’t have dental insurance, this is the perfect time to explain the sliding fee scale, see if they qualify and explain then how the whole process works.

For the first month of 2014, the Oral Health Task Force has paid $1,529.00 for six individual encounters receiving dental services at the Grand Marais Family Dentistry’s office. The Oral Health Task Force is off to a good start in 2014.

We would like to thank the

for their generous donation to the oral health task force.


The OHTF and Dr. Alyssa Hedstrom from Grand Marais Family Dentistry conducted three dental school screenings during the 2012-2013 school year. There were 147 children screened at Cook County ISD/Sawtooth Elementary, 12 screened at Great Expectations and 36 at Birch Grove Community School. There is a dental bus that comes once a year to screen children who attend Oshkiogimaag Charter School.

Georgene Daubanton, OHTF Coordinator, attended several Early Childhood Screenings throughout the year at Cook County ISD. This is an opportunity to make a connection with the parents to explain the OHTF program verbally as well as providing additional information from the brochure, sliding fee scale form and of course, free toothbrushes for the children.

Obtaining grant money is essential to the success of the Oral Health Task Force as a non-profit organization. The majority of this work falls on our committee member, Paul Nelson. Paul has spent countless hours researching and applying for grants. In 2013, we were very fortunate to receive grants through the following organizations: North Shore Health Care Foundation, Arrowhead Cooperative, Mardaq Foundation, Lloyd K. Foundation, Cook County Community Fund for a total of $30,000.00.

Jetty St. John was hired in December of 2013 to help free up Paul Nelson with grant writing. Jetty comes to us with a huge background of grant writing from the University of Minnesota. Since living in Grand Marais, Jetty has written several grants for the various fire departments in our county.

In 2013, the Oral Health Task Force paid for 79 individual encounters of dental work for a total of $10,949.90. This amount included both preventative and restorative work done by the Grand Marais Family Dentistry’s office.

Since the last issue of this newsletter, the Oral Health Task Force and Grand Family Dentistry offered a “Free Day” at the dentist on September 28th, 2012. There were 38 appointments for exams, x-rays, cleanings, sealants and fluoride. The exams resulted in a few needing additional work. It was a very successful day. The cost to the Oral Health Task Force for the “Free Day” was $6,021 Georgene Daubanton, Oral Health Task Force Coordinator, was there to meet with the parents to explain how the Oral Health Task Force could help them. Dr. Alyssa Hedstrom and Georgene worked with Kay Borud,
School Nurse, at Cook County ISD to screen middle and high school children. Screenings were also held at Great Expectations and Birch Grove. There is one more screening left for the grade school children at ISD 166 on April 26, 2013. To date, the Oral Health Task Force has paid $20,684 for dental services helping 77 children since our inception.Oral Health Care for Children - ORAL HEALTH TASK FORCE

Alyssa Hedstrom & Georgene Daubanton went to Birch Grove School to conduct a dental screening for pre-school through fifth grade students on Tuesday, December 4, 2012. Parental reports were completed and sent home with the children along with the Oral Health Task Force sliding fee application.

On Friday, October 26th, a dental screening was held at Cook County High School ISD 166 and 213 children were screened.  The screening was for 7th through 12th grade.  Another screening will take place in February for the grade school children.  A follow up letter was mailed to every parent with the findings and also to those whose children who were unavailable for screening on that day with information regarding the Oral Health Task Force sliding fee scale.  

On Friday, October 12th, a dental screening was held at Great Expectations Charter School for those students who are not seen on a regular basis at Grand Marais Family Dentistry which totaled 12 students from Kindergarten to sixth grade.  Follow up parent letters were sent home with the findings. 
Friday, September 28th, was a “Free Kids Day at the Dentist”! In cooperation with Dr. Alyssa Hedstrom of Grand Marais Family Dentistry, we provided in-depth checkups to 38 children including x-rays, cleaning, fluoride treatment and sealants, if needed. All free to Cook County children between 18 months and 18 years of age. Our new Task Force staff person Georgene Daubanton, was on hand to inform parents who are unable to afford follow-up restorative work (fillings, etc.) of the many financial assistance options we can bring to them.  As a result of the "Free Day" appointments have ben made for those children who needed to have additional work done.

Georgene Daubanton

A couple of years ago, we became aware that, while some of the Cook County and Grand Portage Reservation children were getting good dental care, others were falling through the cracks. Moreover, while the North Shore Health Care Foundation (NSHCF) was well aware of many of the healthcare needs of our county’s residents, we were truly unaware of how important oral health is to a child’s overall health and happiness.

In reality, we had yet to understand all the issues involved or, more important, how to solve them. But a nice thing about living in a small county is that all the social and healthcare organizations work very closely together and all immediately offered to help. The Sawtooth Mountain Clinic, Public Health and Human Services, Grand Marais Family Dentistry, the School District, the Grand Portage Health Services, the Carlton-Cook-
Lake-St. Louis County Community Health Board and our NSHCF all showed up at the table to help. All were very generous in offering their staff’s time and expertise.

The first issue was determining whether we had a problem, what it was and just how big
it was? Dr. Alyssa Hedstrom, our local dentist, gave us some idea of how many of
the area’s children she was seeing. But we weren’t even sure how many children we
have in the county and at the reservation. Furthermore, with all the privacy and
healthcare regulations protecting patient privacy, how do we even reach out to our
families and their children? In talking with other counties who were working on the same
problem, we found that they were only able to contact a small number of the total potential children in their areas. How would we be able to do anything different?

So we began to understand the barriers to helping children: They were tough to reach.
Many parents in our area make too much money to qualify for state health insurance, but too little to afford insurance on their own - truly, the “working poor”. Some parents didn’t understand the need for children’s dental care. Some didn’t have the time between working two jobs to get their children to the dentist.

We finally decided that we wouldn’t be discouraged by this information and set our goals as high as we could, so that we could overcome these barriers. We would try to reach every child. We would educate our community on the importance of early preventative care and promote financial assistance that makes dental health care more affordable. With grants and the support of the NSHCF donors, we offer a generous sliding fee scale program to cover the dental care needs not covered by other programs for all children from 18 months to 18 years of age.

First, we figured out how to reach the children: When the local schools held their ear and eye tests for their children, we would be there and add on a “peek in the mouth”. That allows us to determine which children need more care. We notified the parents of these children, offering generous financial assistance if they needed it. We followed up to remind those parents that help was available and easy to access.

In addition, Dr. Hedstrom has been offering tours to pre-schools and daycares, in which the children get a brief screening, a fluoride varnish and x-rays (with parents’ permission), all for free. We’re working with Headstart, ECFE and the WIC program to be on hand and do our “mouth peeks”. We’ve contacted members of the local home-school community to invite them into the program.

How successful have we been so far? In Cook County, we’ve seen virtually all of the children at Sawtooth Elementary and will be seeing the middle and high schoolers soon. Likewise, we’ve seen all of the children at Great Expectations and Birch Grove charter schools. Our friends at the Grand Portage Reservation have been very successful on their own getting checkups for nearly all of their children. We will partner with them on
ways to offer follow-up dental treatments.

How many children is that? We are a very small community, but between the three Cook County schools alone, not counting the pre-schoolers and daycares, we’ve seen 231 children. Of those, we can happily say that 141 are getting regular dental visits. Not so happily, 88 are behind on getting care, with 25 of those showing some pretty serious dental problems. Those are the children we are targeting.

So to help their folks get them in for more serious work, we are holding the outreach event on September 28th, one of the first Fridays when schools are closed because of the new schedule.

If it sounds like we are bending over backwards to help parents get the dental care their children need, we are. A child with tooth decay has an infection that can seriously affect
their overall health. A child in pain cannot learn in school. We have to take care of the kids.

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