CHOMP program takes bite out of children’s need for dental care

Mylan Park Elementary kids first to be bused to WVU dental school

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Most children eligible for free dental care under the government programs Medicaid and CHIPS never see a dentist, says Eliot Shulman, D.D.S., a pediatric dentist at West Virginia University. To help remedy the situation, the WVU School of Dentistry and the Monongalia County Board of Education have partnered to get students to the dentist during the school day even if parents lack transportation or can’t leave work.

The initiative is called CHOMP – Children with Healthy Oral Cavities Morgantown Program. Under CHOMP, parents will be encouraged to accompany children to their appointments – there will be space for them on the bus. The bus service is free.

“It’s going to be up to the parents,” Dr. Shulman explained. “They can have their child brought directly from the classroom here for dental care then taken back to the classroom. This should assist the parents who have a hard time leaving work to get their child to the dentist.”

Services offered include cleaning, x-rays, fillings and extractions. Dental students will provide the care under the direct supervision of faculty dentists.

Children at Mylan Park Elementary will be the first ones eligible. “This is a new program, and we wanted to start with one school to fine tune the process,” Shulman said. “After Mylan Park, depending on demand from parents and participation, we hope the program would expand to other schools in the county.”

The program will start out with a schedule of two half-days a month at the clinic. Six children at a time will be bused, and a chaperone will be present.

Only children covered by Medicaid and CHIPS can participate in CHOMPS. Parents should look for paperwork their children will bring home during the first week of school. For questions about the program, contact the WVU Division of Pediatric Dentistry, 304-293-0401.



For more information:
Andrea Brunais, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
AB: 08-3-09

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