Dental Hygiene clinic provides a little ‘TLC’ for families in need

ST. GEORGE — Dixie State University will be hosting its quarterly Dental Hygiene Day for preregistered clients of The Learning Center for Families and other interested parties on Friday from 1-4 p.m. at the Dr. Mervyn and Sue Cox Dental Hygiene Clinic located at 1526 East Medical Center Drive in St. George.

Dr. Tyler Torres, from Dixie Pediatric Dental, will be volunteering his time to help provide basic prophylactic care and dental education at no cost to children and their family members. Since 2002, the DSU Dental Hygiene Program has collaborated with nursing staff at The Learning Center for Families, also called TLC, to identify families in the community who are in need of the free dental services and education.

Clinics are conducted twice every semester by students in the Dental Hygiene program and local dentists who volunteer their time and services. Each participating family member will attend four hygiene clinics during the program year. Participants receive oral health screenings, prophylactic treatments, sealants or fluoride washes as indicated. Patients receive a new toothbrush as well as toothpaste and floss at each visit.

“The focus of the clinics is on developing life-long dental habits that will ensure the family takes good care of their teeth and gums,” said Tena Heward, health services coordinator for TLC. “Regular preventive care can help detect dental problems early which can save thousands in long term costs. Many of the children’s parents we visit have never seen a dentist. We want to break the cycle for their children; we want them to understand that seeing a dentist and preventive care is the key for life long oral health.”

DSU’s Dental Hygiene program was developed in the fall of 1998 and is accredited by the American Dental Association. Torres and his partner Dr. Brett K. Christensen, from Dixie Pediatric Dental, have been volunteering on the TLC for Families Health Services Advisory Committee and on TLC hygiene clinic days at Dixie State University for several years now.

“We’re so grateful for Dixie Pediatric Dental and for all of the dentists in our community who help with this program throughout the year including Dr. David Morris, with the Dental Center of St. George, and Dr. Matthew R. Valantine, with Valantine Family Dentistry,” Heward said.

About The Learning Center for Families

Since 1993, the Learning Center for Families promotes the success of children one family at a time. TLC has family centers located in St. George, Hurricane, Hildale, Beaver Dam and Colorado City and provide home visiting services throughout Washington County and the Arizona Strip to over 500 pregnant women and families with children each week.

Programs offered include:

  • Early Head Start | A program serving low-income pregnant women and families with children ages birth to three by providing comprehensive services that promote the physical, cognitive, social and emotional growth of infants and toddlers while assisting parents in achieving greater self-sufficiency.
  • Early Intervention | A program serving families with children ages birth to three showing any kind of developmental delay or who have conditions such as Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy or autism.
  • Parents as Teachers | A program focusing on pregnant women of any income who need extra parenting support, due to stressors in their lives, until their child reaches five years of age.
  • Kindermusik | Classes provided weekly at our St. George location for children ages six weeks to eight years old.

TLC has a staff of over 60 employees including special education consultants, occupational and physical therapists, nurses, speech therapists, registered dieticians, licensed clinical social workers and Kindermusik instructors.

Event details and resources

  • What: Dental Hygiene Day
  • When: Friday, Feb. 27, from 1-4 p.m.
  • Where: Dr. Mervyn and Sue Cox Dental Hygiene Clinic, 1526 East Medical Center Drive, St. George
  • TLC website
  • Contact Janie Belliston at 435-673-5353 ext. 139 or by email

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