“It has everything to do with education. When a child has a toothache they’re busy with their tooth and the pain and they can’t learn. Healthy students learn.”
Or so says Coronado Elementary School Principal Linda Cohen as she addressed the invited guests on Friday for the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new dental clinic at her school.
Cohen continued, “Any of us who have had toothaches or pain knows that that can be very miserable and you’re not going to be interested in instruction.”
“It’s a great opportunity for this community.”
Areas of schools not specifically dedicated to strictly education—like this dental clinic—are controversial subject in the District with some taxpayers insisting that anything other than a basic classroom is extravagant and a misuse of the voter approved bond funds.
Others, such as Cohen and WCCUSD Trustees Todd Groves and Madeline Kronenberg, who attended this event, argue that “when the kids have a lot of things going through their heads they aren’t hooked into academics.”
Not only do healthy and well-fed students have a better pre-disposition to learning, but a free clinic such as this actually promotes better health care for the community’s youth. Often a parent will be required to take a half day or more off of work to take their child to a dentist and in this community that can be a half day’s pay they can ill afford to lose. As a result, the child doesn’t see the dentist as often as necessary.
With this new free dental clinic, the patient is pulled from the class, has the work taken care of on site and is returned to the class in about 20 minutes—and the parent doesn’t have to take time away from work. With no cost to the parent, there is nothing standing in the way of proper dental hygiene and care.
After razing the old school, Coronado Elementary was rebuilt and had it’s own ribbon cutting a few months back. On Friday the two-chair state-of-the-art dental clinic had it’s own ribbon cutting.
Principal Cohen thanked the many people who helped to make this possible—including the School Board, the local YMCA the Coronado community and especially Dr. Daniel Tanita, DDS, who has volunteered his Fridays for nearly 18 years to help with this and the clinic at Peres Elementary.
Dr. Dan has many other friends and colleagues that will be volunteering their time. They’ll set up a schedule along with many hygienists.
When possible, any insurance the students may have is billed so the cost of the materials can be mitigated.
Trustee Groves praised those that helped make this clinic a reality. “This is quite a testament to the community,” Groves said. “The Coronado community mobilized to make sure this happened. We’re going to find every barrier that’s going to prevent our children from the fullness of what we know can be.”
Cohen explained that “learning is not just for some kids—it’s for all kids. It’s about the whole child. I know it’s worth it no matter how much it cost.”
The young patients say that Dr. Dan is very nice and friendly. One of the patients, Jalen Brown, told the group that he had cherry mint flavored toothpaste. As Cohen said, “He has a smile on his face so what more could you ask for?”