It's rare to see such enthusiasm in someone going to the dentist. But Frick Impact Academy eighth-grader T.C. Campbell eagerly hopped into the dentist's chair Friday afternoon and gave a double thumps-up.
He was celebrating the opening of a new dental operatory at the East Oakland middle school.
With equipment donated by Salesforce founder Marc Benioff and the Benioff Family Foundation, the visiting dentist and dental hygenist can now treat tooth decay as well as preventing it.
A dentist from the Native American Health Center visits Frick twice a month to do exams and cleanings with portable equipment. Now she can fill small cavities and do X-rays.
Clinic coordinator Ashley Trahan said that even with Medi-Cal, many families struggle to pay for fillings. Untreated dental problems are distracting and painful for children who need to pay attention in school, she added.
"Now we can make sure students' teeth are healthy, they're not missing any school, and their parents are not having to pay for it out of pocket," she said.
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, children from low-income families are twice as likely to suffer from untreated tooth decay as other children.
Children in Alameda County need twice as much urgent dental care, like extractions and cavities, compared to children in the rest of California.