MAKING AN IMPACT: Local nonprofit changing lives through healthy smiles
OWATONNA, Minn. (KTTC) – Many people often think of dental care as simply getting your teeth poked at, cleaned, and filled. What you may not realize is that oral health affects your whole body socially, emotionally, and physically.
Let’s Smile, Inc. in Owatonna works every day to promote, educate, and empower families, especially kids, about the power behind a healthy smile.
“Your oral health affects your overall body health.”
Inside the Community Pathways of Steele County, Inc. building on Oakdale Street, Holly Jorgensen is hard at work, meticulously caring for children’s oral health all across southeast Minnesota.
“I really do adore every single one of these kids. I tend to call them my kids because I just love them.”
Jorgensen is the Founder, Executive Director, and Dental Hygienist for Let’s Smile, Inc.
“We make it fun, dental care does not have to be anything but fun,” Jorgensen said.
For ten years, she has been providing kids under 20 years old with the personalized, gentle care they deserve.
Jorgensen added, “There’s so much more to oral health care than just getting a good cleaning. It’s getting your whole body healthy.”
She first started doing this work out of a break room and later transitioned to her very own clinic.
“We have an open door policy.”
The nonprofit offers dental screenings, professional cleanings and more, all at no charge.
Amber Riley lives in Owatonna and recently came across Let’s Smile for her son, Axel.
“It makes it a lot easier knowing that this is available for him because I don’t care if I sit on a two-year wait list, but I don’t want him to sit on a two-year wait list,” Riley said.
“The child needs to be covered with state or county insurance because that way we know that you’re struggling to find a dental office that will see that insurance. We also accept no insurance,” Jorgensen said.
Prevention is a top priority of the organization.
Jorgensen added, “It’s all about motivating. It’s all about getting these kids super excited about wanting to take good care of their teeth for a lifetime.”
“I love it, she’s great with him and he obviously moves around a lot and is really rambunctious and she takes time to make sure everything is good and addressed my needs with questions as well as paying attention to him,” Riley said.
Let’s Smile, Inc. isn’t only offering access to dental care within the office. Jorgensen goes to where the kids are, putting on pop-up school-based dental clinics in at least 27 schools all over southern Minnesota.
The nonprofit cannot keep serving local kids without the community’s support. To learn more about how to donate, click here.
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