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Free Dental Screenings, Photos with Santa
Flathead City-County Health Department hosts annual dental screenings
The holidays can feel like crunch time for many of us, but just imagine what it’s like for Santa Claus. As potentially the world’s busiest and most time-efficient person, Santa spends all of December listening to the holiday wishes of children everywhere, all the while getting ready to make an around-the-world-in-24-hours trip at the end of the month.

So it is with great pleasure that the Flathead City-County Health Department welcomes Santa on Dec. 12 to the Earl Bennett Building in Kalispell, where he will sit for free pictures with the Flathead Valley’s kids and families.

Santa’s visit happens to coincide with the health center’s annual free dental screenings, but county health officer Joe Russell said kids don’t have to get a dental screening to sit with Santa.

The free dental screenings, held with the health center’s dentist Dr. Jenny Carson, are a way for families to take care of this important piece of childhood healthcare, Russell said, while also learning about other programs at the health center they may qualify for.

“It’s a really neat program, when our health center can integrate with other programs that way,” he said.

When families stop by the health center – housed in the Earl Bennett Building, located at 1035 First Ave. W in Kalispell – they will be greeted by a couple of elves who will help direct them upstairs for their dental screening. Following that, the kids can sit for a chat and picture with the Big Man in Red, and then receive a free CD of the pictures. There are also some crafts to be done while visiting.

The Washington Foundation is paying for the dental screenings, and the staff at the health center bought the CDs and will use their own camera for the pictures.

Santa will get there at noon, and the event starts at 12:30 p.m. Screenings run until 3:30 p.m., and health center officials said there is plenty of room in the schedule for many of the valley’s kids to get their teeth checked out.

Dental health directly relates to a child’s overall health, Russell said, and many times parents either don’t have the time or the funds to get a screening for their young children.

The Dec. 12 event will help alleviate some of that pressure, along with providing a fun time for the kids when they meet Santa.

“It’s just a good way to do something that’s really important for children,” Russell said.
 
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