MN dental clinics offering free dental care to children this weekend | Community

Dental professionals across Minnesota are participating in the “Give the Kids a Smile” campaign, which provides free dental care for children.

STEWARTVILLE, Minn. – Each year, the Minnesota Dental Association organizes its “Give Kids a Smile Campaign” to provide free dental care to area children.

Nearly 1,000 MDA dental professionals volunteer their time and services at more than 50 clinics across the state.

Dr. Zachary Lechner of Root River Dental in Stewartville is one of them.

This Friday, Dr. Lechner will open his clinic to any child in the community who may not have had access to dental care otherwise.

He and his clinic will provide free triage dental care, preventive care, clinical exams and more.

Dr Lechner said more children miss school due to dental disease than any other illness on record.

While the pandemic has put a lot of things on hold over the past two years, dental checkups have been no exception.

“More so, what we’ve seen, empirically, in this practice is that we’ve seen lifestyle changes,” Dr. Lechner said. “People weren’t going out – taking care of themselves with basic brushing and flossing. Lots of comfort foods were being eaten. We’ve seen a massive increase in tooth decay. It’s a very real concern and we see the effects of that today. and I believe in the future for many years to come.”

He said his clinic has helped break down barriers to accessing dental care.

“We do this to take these kids and to really mentor and guide them through this care and help them get to that better level of health. In the past I’ve worked with kids with multiple abscessed teeth – which is a major infection – and I was able to help them get healthier and back to school without a toothache. Those are the rewards…the smiles, the hugs…that’s really why we do,” Dr. Lechner said.

Root River Dental still has appointments available for Friday.

To register, you can call them at (507) 533-7735 or visit the MDA website to find a clinic near you, here.

Larry A. Schroeder