Dentists to be in select New York City schools

June 24, 2013 2:46:58 PM PDT
Tooth decay is one of the most common chronic childhood diseases, five times more common than asthma.

Starting this fall some New York City schools will have a dental clinic in the school.

Chancellor Dennis Walcott says it's part of a bigger plan to provide more health clinics in schools.

"If they stay healthy then they're in school they can learn and do well and that's our goal," he said.

The new pilot program will target low income students with a preliminary plan to start in 15 schools, 8 in Brooklyn, 4 in the Bronx, 2 in Queens and 1 on Staten Island.

"It's convenient to most parents who can't travel due to work. I think it's a wonderful idea," said Chanell Norris.

According to Department of Education documents, the new dental clinics will offer students everything from x-rays to extractions with a signed parental consent form.

Dr. Amr Moursi is Director of Pediatric Dentistry at NYU Dental School where 80% of their patients are low income.

"One of the problems with not getting timely treatment is a what starts as a simple cavity.. Can become a serious infection that can lead to life threatening problems," said Dr. Moursi.

But one concern among dentists is that this is not just a quick fix but a long term solution.

And that comes from educating kids and their parents.

The department of education is looking for dentists now.

The visits would be at no cost to students.

But what's not clear is how dentists will be able to make this profitable.

The Department of Education is providing the space, but dentists would have to provide all the equipment. They would be reimbursed by medicaid.


Preliminary list of schools for School-based Dental Clinics Pilot program from the Dept. of Education

Academy for Environmental Leadership
Academy of Urban Planning
Bushwick School for Social Justice
PS 269, IS 285, PS 256, PS 3 and PS 238
PS 40
JHS 189
Urban Assembly Academy of Civic Engagement
Mott Hall Community School
Urban Institute of Mathematics
PS 107
Staten Island: PS 21