Sealant program needs rethinking
I commend Mr. Geisel for his in- depth analysis of dental sealants (The Sheet, March 30).
I have been performing non-invasive dental sealants for more than 30 years, and could not agree more with the local Oral Health Task Force and Drs. Sansom, Reifel and Spolsky that dental sealants prevent tooth decay. Lost in all the technical data was what the meeting’s debate was actually about: Whether poorly performed sealants placed by dental students practicing on children in a non-dental office environment was better than nothing, or a detriment to the child’s dental health.
What is not debatable is that our community has been blessed with an easy-to-get-to dental clinic at Mammoth Hospital, right next to the Family, Pediatric and OBGYN clinics. It was funded by hundreds of thousands of dollars of grants to serve those children who do not have access to regular dental care but have Denti-Cal and other low-income programs. A school sealant program in Mammoth is therefore an example of redundant government services. The sealants could have been performed to a higher level in a dental office environment at the Mammoth Hospital Dental Clinic.
I am surprised that a world class ski area such as Mammoth was picked out during UCLA spring break by the volunteers over many other towns in our state where children do not have access to such a great dental clinic as ours. I remember going to the destination resorts of Hanford, Mexicali, Santa Paula and Calexico when I was a volunteer dental student.
Another item that is not debatable is that parents are the main source of stopping decay. All the sealants, fluoride varnish, toothpaste and government programs cannot overcome dental neglect by parents. Parents are not present at school dental programs as they would be in a dental office with their children.
I have heard parents tell their children to brush better when cavities occur. Kids could probably drive a car better than brush or floss properly. Parents need to be instructed on how to take care of their children’s teeth, and that is not limited to brushing and flossing their children before bedtime.
A school visual exam where a report says “everything is fine” and “see a dentist” gives a false sense of good dental health and typically the parent does not follow through. The worst decay that I see starts in between the teeth and can’t be detected on a school visual exam without X-rays. The lack of follow through allows small hidden cavities to grow until pain and infection starts. When the parent finally brings their child in, I hear, “But the school said everything was fine.”
I urge Mono County First 5 and the Dental Task Force to utilize their resources to connect those children in need to the Mammoth Hospital Dental Clinic.
Craig Schrager, D.D.S.
Forget the past
I was urged Tuesday evening at the CAC meeting where MMSA presented the results of its peer resort tour, to forget the past. I am sure the community would love to forget all the trials it’s been through in the last year and forget all the insults by MMSA higher ups it’s endured. And it would be relatively easy to do so if anything had been presented at the meeting that would give us hope that a bright future for June Mountain is just around the corner.
But instead we were told again that this thing is going to have to wait. MMSA needs to do some studies, the community needs to “buy in” to the family resort idea, we have to become interesting to investors And foremost, we are being told there will be no major investments made to June Mountain until all these roads are traveled.
So, it’s hard to forget that in the last ten years June Mountain has been essentially starved while Mammoth Mountain has enjoyed untold millions in improvements and marketing. It’s hard to forget that the Canyon venue will receive a million dollar makeover while June Mountain may have a few weddings and no other activities.
No one is going to forget these things until MMSA stops forgetting us.
Committee for a Viable June Mountain