PIERRE, S.D. – (DRG News) A mobile dental program was expecting to reach a milestone this week. Delta Dental of South Dakota’s mobile dental program, Dakota Smiles, started eight years ago and has provided almost nine million dollars in dental care to under served children in 73 different South Dakota communities. Officials said on Monday that they expected to offer care to the 20,000th patient this week. Dakota Smiles is a program that offers preventive and restorative dental care and oral health education to kids who otherwise would not have access to care. Children up to age 21 are eligible. The program helps those who don’t have a local dentist, have not seen a dentist in two years or who travel over 85 miles to see a dentist. Carrie Mikkonen, Dakota Smiles program manager says dental disease is painful, impacts a child’s overall health and can often lead to poor school performance. The Dakota Smiles program started with the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile in 2004. A second truck, the Delta Dental Smile Mobile was added four years ago to help meet the demand for services.
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