Emerging Practice

Children’s Dental Services

State/Jurisdiction: Minnesota
Setting: Clinical
Population: Children Women & Maternal
Topic Area: Access to Quality Healthcare Equity & Anti-Racism
NPMs: NPM 13.1: Preventative Dental Visit – Pregnancy NPM 13.2: Preventative Dental Visit – Child/Adolescent

Children’s Dental Services (CDS) was created to serve Minnesota orphans in the wake of the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918. Over the course of 101 years CDS has emerged as a national leader and a major public dental health safety net provider for low-income children and pregnant women throughout Minnesota. CDS is the only Minnesota agency dedicated exclusively to providing culturally-tailored oral health outreach, education, preventive and restorative treatment to low-income children and pregnant women. CDS serves all children, from birth until age 26, regardless of the amount of their family income. Recognizing the relationship between the oral health of a mother and her unborn child CDS also treats pregnant women until two months post-partum, and in the wave of COVID now serves family members of all ages. CDS staff is exceptionally well equipped to serve its diverse community, themselves representing 26 countries and speaking 23 languages, including American Sign Language, Amharic, Arabic, Bosnian, Croatian, Farsi, French, Hindi, Hmong, Italian, Karen, Korean, Lakota, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Tibeto/Burman, Ukrainian, Urdu, and Vietnamese. CDS provides innovative, sustainable, care by utilizing cutting edge modalities including mid-level dental providers, cost-effective portable delivery systems, and emerging technologies including telehealth. In 2020, CDS served over 35,00 patients at more than 500 sites within 54 Minnesota counties during over 94,500 procedures and more than 64,000 visits. CDS’ 2020 demographics: Hispanic (23%), Somali (21%), African American (21%), Caucasian/East European (20%), Asian/Pacific Islander (8%), and American Indian (7%).

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Implementation Handout
2020 Annual Report

Children’s Dental Services
Sarah Wovcha, JD, MPH
(612) 636-1577
Practice Website