Founded in 1995, The Children’s Dental Center of Greater Los Angeles envisioned an integrated combination of preventative, educative and comprehensive treatment services that is tailored to each child and leads to happier, healthier and more productive lives. The partnership between our providers and the family is essential to our mission – eliminate dental disease and promoting overall health by providing a dental home for underserved children and their caregivers – and to contribute to the establishment of a healthy local economy.
The center opened with the mission to offer comprehensive dental treatment services to dentally underserved children of low-income families. The dental clinic facility was soon known as The Smile Store (TSS). In 2000, The Shannon Kelly Toothfairy Cottage (SKTFC) was opened as a complementary home base just across the street from our dental clinic for community outreach that would offer education, screenings and field trips to the surrounding area. With the educational messages now being presented chairside in The Smile Store and those taking messages to the broader community at the SKTFC or through our outreach program, our aim is to support our patients and their families in acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to make informed decisions consistent with disease prevention and improved overall health.
TCDC remains committed to the overall goal of increasing access to oral health services by reducing the number of barriers the dentally underserved continuously face. In 2000, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) created Policy on the Dental Home guidelines that stated children who have a dental home are “more likely to receive appropriate preventative and routine oral health care.” TCDC has worked wholeheartedly to adopt the model and modify it with the times to better accommodate the regions we service. The model gives us a frame work that extends beyond the “treatment” focus of traditional dental offices, incorporating activities that engage the patients and caregivers, increase their knowledge and support behaviors leading to improved oral health and overall health and well-being.