Schools provide free dental services

Juliette (left) and Reid (right) Competillo, students at Groton Elementary School are excited about the opportunity for free dental care in their school.
Juliette (left) and Reid (right) Competillo, students at Groton Elementary School are excited about the opportunity for free dental care in their school.
Photo by Linda Competillo

In the day and age we live in today, many families find themselves with a plethora of ways in which to spend the proverbial “hard-earned dollar,” most of which are not avoidable or negotiable, such as mortgages or rent, taxes, food, clothing, transportation, necessary utilities, and the list could go on. Thus, routine and preventive dental care is often pretty far down on the priority list for some.

While neglecting good professional dental care is not something the average parent wants to choose for their children, it just somehow seems to turn out that way sometimes, as they are faced with all of the other needs clamoring for “a piece of the paycheck.”

This dilemma for the parents and students of Groton Central School has been a concern and a passion for district superintendent, Margo Martin, since she arrived at the helm five years ago. At a special meeting of the Board of Education in October 2017, Martin had announced the solution she was finally able to find and procure for the district.

At that time, Martin and the BOE were ecstatic about the soon-to-be-realized dental services they would be able to offer, completely free of charge, to GCS students pre-K through grade 12, through a community dental service program provided by Finger Lakes Community Health.

Unfortunately, the grant funding that FLCH was dependent upon in order to offer the program hit a sudden and unforeseen snag, resulting in the opportunity for Groton disappearing as quickly as it had come.

At the Groton BOE’s most recent meeting on Monday, Jan. 13, almost two years and three months to the day since the October 2017 meeting, Martin delightedly shared the news that funding had been recently realized for the FLCH and that the dental program will finally become a reality in both schools.

This service is ideal for those who may not have a family dentist, may not have dental insurance and/or may be having difficulty finding a dental provider that accepts Child Health Plus, Fidelis or Medicaid. FLCH works with these, as well as other insurance companies that families may be enrolled in, in order to provide dental services for students with no cost to parents.

No one is under any obligation to use these dental services, but it is available to any and all who wish to avail themselves of the opportunity, regardless of income level. One of the main motivating factors for the establishment of this program is FLCH’s understanding of how difficult it can be for any parent to make and keep appointments, take time off from their jobs or deal with the filing of insurance claims.

Services include examination (checking for cavities and/or gum disease), dental screening, toothbrush, floss and oral hygiene instructions, teeth cleaning, fluoride treatment, x-rays, sealants (a covering to protect the teeth from decay/cavities) and fillings.

The dental program will be at Groton Elementary School on Tuesday, April 14 to provide an educational presentation to each of the classes on dental hygiene. Students will be given permission slips from FLCH to take home to parents to be signed for permission to receive free dental services at the school.

The dental hygienist will be on site at GES beginning the week of May 4 to provide cleaning and/or sealants. The program will expand to include the junior-senior high school in November 2020. Parents who have students in grades six through 12 who need dental services before then will be able to get an appointment at the elementary school. There is no limit on the number of students who may be seen.

The dental services will be performed in the nurse’s office in the elementary school this spring and in the high school building in November. Parents are permitted to accompany their child to the dental appointment. This program also includes follow-up exams by a dentist, and referrals will be made for more extensive dental work on an as-needed basis.

Love Living at Home

All are welcome to join Foodnet Meals on Wheels as it welcomes Love Living at Home for an informational session about the services available through its organization at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29, at Center Village Court, 200 W. South St. This presentation is open to the public and offered at no cost.

LLH is part of a national movement called “The Village to Village Network.” Its mission is to help older adults remain in their homes and provide them with social connections to help make life meaningful as they age.

LLH representatives will share the benefits of aging in place and address how they can help with the services available through their organization such as how to take charge of your future, social connections and programs, health and well-being and access to services and resources they provide.

The organization’s motto is “Love Living at Home is not a place on a map - it is a gateway to relationships and resources for older adults who desire to live in the homes and neighborhoods they love.”

Join Foodnet for a nutritious lunch immediately following this presentation. Reservations are required at least one day in advance by calling (607) 266-9553. Lunch is available to all individuals who are 60 and older for a voluntary financial contribution. Those under 60 may attend for a cost of $8 per meal.

Groton on the Inside appears weekly. Submit news ideas to Linda Competillo, or 607-227-4922.

In brief:

Pork dinner in McLean

The McLean Community Church, 50 Church St., is the place to be if you like roast pork from 4:30 p.m. until gone Saturday, Jan. 18, sponsored by McLean Church Women’s Fellowship.

Roast pork, dressing, mashed potatoes, peas and carrots, coleslaw, applesauce, beverages and cupcakes will be served, and there will also be take-out meals available.

Cost for adults is $12, children age 6 through 12 is $6, and all children 5 and under may eat for free.

Pancakes for breakfast

The McLean fire station will host its popular monthly breakfast buffet from 8 to 11 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 19. They will be serving regular, chocolate chip and blueberry pancakes, French toast, scrambled eggs, home-fried potatoes, sausage, ham, sausage gravy with biscuits, an assortment of juices, regular and decaf coffee, tea, hot chocolate, chocolate milk and water.

Their famous warm apple topping and homemade rice pudding that so many know, and love, will also be on the menu. Cost for adults is $8, senior citizens $7 and all children $5. For further information, call 607-838-8249 or 607-838-3444.

The firefighters and auxiliary members appreciate the support of the community as they start a new year of serving these scrumptious breakfasts. They are hoping to raise enough funding to purchase a much-needed walk-in cooler this year.

Planning board vacancy

The town of Groton is seeking an individual to fill a vacant position on the Town of Groton Planning Board. This board meets on the third Thursday of every month at 7:30 p.m. in the Town Hall, 101 Conger Blvd.

A description of the position and applications are available at the Town Clerk’s Office, or online at Applications must be returned to the Town Clerk’s office by Saturday, Feb. 1.


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