Thursday, April 30, 2009

A healthy smile for less

As dairy farmers, we all know the value of routine maintenance. Unfortunately, when it comes to taking care of ourselves we sometimes put routine maintenance off. Not enough time, high health insurance deductibles, no major health concerns ("I feel fine. Why should I go to the doctor?") — all reasons why physical exams and routine health screenings don't happen on time.

The same can be true for our dental health. Especially since many of us don't carry dental insurance. Routine dental care isn't terribly expensive, but it's not exactly cheap, either. That's why we were so excited to learn about the dental clinic at St. Cloud Technical College.

For about $50, you can have your teeth cleaned, a dental and oral health exam and x-rays. The work is done by students in the dental hygienist program; the students' performance is evaluated by a Registered Dental Hygienist. The exam is done by the attending dentist. If cavities or other concerns are identified, x-rays and an evaluation report can be sent to the patient's dentist.

The only catch is that the appointments can take up to a couple hours to complete and the clinic's schedule fills fast. However, the exam and cleaning will be more thorough than you'll likely find anywhere else.

The situation is really win-win. Low cost dental care makes routine care easier for those of us with high-deductible health insurance or no health insurance at all; the dental clinic needs patients so students can gain hands-on experience.

If you're in the St. Cloud area and could benefit from affordable dental care, the dental clinic at SCTC can be reached at 320.308.5919. The clinic sees both adults and children. Again, the schedule fills fast, especially for children's appointments, so call well in advance of when you'd like to go.

If you're not in the St. Cloud area, check with your local university or technical college. I'd be willing to bet any educational facility with a dental hygiene program has a teaching clinic, most likely with affordable prices.

I'm guessing the only routine maintenance that'll be happening on most of our farms for the next couple months will take place in the shop, but once the equipment is put away this fall, take some time to take care of your smile. For less.

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