Last updated: February 17. 2013 3:43AM - 144 Views

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BRAVO TO LUZERNE County Community College and area business Benco Dental for not only brightening area residents' teeth but also certain people's futures.

An updated clinic, newly christened as the Benco Dental Clinic, allows students enrolled in the college's dental hygiene and related programs to brush up on their skills, potentially enhancing their job prospects and career trajectories, while giving clients better control of their health.

Campus officials and others last week dedicated the clinic in Nanticoke, recently upgraded thanks to an investment of about $730,000. Our appreciation goes, in particular, to Benco's owners, the Cohen family, for providing $150,000 toward the project's total cost. This sort of generosity extended for the public good makes us grin from ear to ear.

So, too, does the clinic's impact in the community. For modest payments of $15 or so, people can get their teeth cleaned by students, operating under the watchful eyes of faculty and paid dentists. (Payments for senior citizens and children are $10 and $5, respectively.)

The college clinic's on-site services include X-rays and exams. For more extensive procedures, the staff refers its clients to a dental office.

This and similar programs in Luzerne County that provide low-cost dental care – or, in some cases, free care – fulfill an important need. By regularly visiting a clinic, uninsured and underinsured individuals can in many instances stave off cavities and other expensive or embarrassing oral problems. Plus, because evidence hints at connections between a healthy mouth, especially the gums, and a person's overall health, it makes good sense to get regular teeth cleanings.

If you or someone you know has been postponing a dental cleaning for cost reasons, don't delay. Stop decay. And smile.

Need dental care?

Make an appointment at one of these area clinics. Be sure to confirm services offered, payment required (if any) and eligibility/income guidelines.

• Benco Dental Clinic, at Luzerne County Community College, Nanticoke. 740-0446.

• The Hope Center, at Back Mountain Harvest Assembly, Trucksville. 696-5233.

Volunteers in Medicine Dental Clinic, Wilkes-Barre. 970-8506.

Wilkes-Barre Free Dental Clinic, at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Wilkes-Barre. 235-5642.

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