JOPLIN, Mo. — State funding will help dental hygiene students offer free checkups for younger kids.

The state is giving $20,000 to the Missouri Southern Dental Hygiene Department.

The funding will pave the way for a Teledentistry event at Wildwood Elementary School in Sarcoxie.

MSSU students will provide on-site care, while a dentist at KCU Joplin will connect remotely to identify patients will greater needs.

“It gives them a good, being out in the community and working with the community outreach. It’s also geared for rural schools that don’t have access to dental care. And so this gives them a chance, it’s a free screening as long as they have parent consent,” said said Jill Pyle, MSSU Dental Hygiene.

“We would like to provide oral health education and preventative services for individuals. This is a new opportunity this year,” said Dr. Latasha Vick, KCU Joplin.

The screening event will screen about 230 students in kindergarten through sixth grade.

Later events will also offer dental services to kids in Avilla and Jasper.