Not All Heroes Wear Capes

Sherry Laliberte, RDH, conducts dental screenings at numerous Maine elementary schools, providing dental care to children, many of whom have never seen a dental provider before. Recently, she noticed a 9-year-old girl’s gingiva was abnormal. Laliberte looked into the patient’s medical history and found the presence of genetic kidney disease. She referred the child and it turns out she had stage 2 kidney failure. An unsung hero, Laliberte changed the life of that child forever.

Sherry Laliberte, a dedicated dental hygienist working at MCD Public Health, plays a pivotal role in conducting dental screenings across various elementary schools in Maine. Collaborating closely with the Maine CDC’s school oral program, Laliberte focuses on identifying potential oral health issues among students.

During one of her routine screenings, Laliberte’s keen eye caught something concerning – the gingiva of a 9-year-old girl appeared abnormal. Intrigued by her findings, she decided to delve deeper into the matter. As the program manager of the Maine CDC School Oral Health Program, Laliberte recognized the importance of thorough investigation.

Upon reviewing the parents’ medical history, it was revealed that the girl’s mother had a genetic condition leading to stage 4 kidney failure. This revelation prompted further testing, and the results were disheartening: the young girl was diagnosed with stage 2 kidney failure.

However, Laliberte’s early detection proved to be a saving grace. Thanks to her timely intervention, the student received necessary medical attention, and her condition was managed effectively.

Laliberte’s work is a part of the school oral health program, which has been instrumental in providing dental screenings to approximately 200 elementary schools across the state of Maine. The program aims to improve access to dental care for families with budget constraints.

Dental care can be expensive, and some families struggle to afford it. Once children age out of the school oral health program, they may find themselves without coverage. Parents play an important role in instilling the importance of a good oral hygiene routine.

Indeed, the impact of poor dental hygiene on overall health can be significant, leading to various health conditions. By continuing to prioritize oral health screenings and early detection, professionals like Laliberte contribute significantly to the well-being of students and their families.1


  1. WMTW. Maine dental hygienist makes life-saving discovery for 9-year-old girl.
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