Children's dental clinic earns Community Preventive Dentistry Award

Sept. 14, 2004
Award recognizes innovative programs that target a variety of community groups.

Sponsored by
Johnson & Johnson Oral Health Products

Highest Award

"John C. Lincoln Children's Dental Clinic"

John C. Lincoln's Children's Dental Clinic was established in 1927 to meet the dental needs of low-income children in the Sunnyslope community of north Phoenix (Maricopa County), Arizona. The non-profit dental clinic serves children ages 3-18 from low-income (working poor) families who have no dental insurance.

Services provided are prevention, education and treatment. Procedures performed at the clinic include examinations, prophylaxes, sealants, fillings, extractions, root canals, crowns and referrals for specialty care.

In 1994 the clinic added a school-based component to provide free dental hygiene education to every student enrolled in eight local elementary schools. Each student also gets a dental screening. In 2003 a school-based sealant program was initiated. Those with urgent dental needs and no insurance are referred to the dental clinic for immediate treatment. More than 40 dental professionals volunteer their time at the clinic.

Some of the volunteer dentists have been with the clinic for 20 or even 30 years. Patients are charged $20 per visit, no matter how many procedures are performed during a visit. No child is turned away because of inability to pay.

The dental clinic was established by the First Presbyterian Church as part of the Desert Mission to meet the physical, social and spiritual needs of impoverished families who moved to north Phoenix in the hopes that the dry climate would cure their tuberculosis, arthritis and other ailments.

The Desert Mission is now the charitable arm of the John C. Lincoln Health Network, a not-for-profit network of healthcare services in north Phoenix.