Access to Baby and Child Dentistry (ABCD)

ABCD Motto:

1st Tooth, 1st Birthday, 1st Dental Visit!

Despite the fact that tooth decay is a pervasive condition in early childhood, there is good news: it can be prevented, and even reversed if caught early enough! We count on community partners like you to help us reach families about the importance of good oral health, early on, by referring them to our Thurston-Lewis ABCD program.

Many parents believe that the health of baby teeth is not all that important because they fall out, and are replaced by permanent teeth. Most of us probably don’t think about the fact that the transition from baby to adult teeth takes 10-12 years. We may be unaware that baby teeth have the following important functions:

  • Helps shape a child’s face
  • Helps a child develop proper speech
  • Maintains space and guiding permanent teeth into place
  • Helps a child chew food, the first step in digestion and a prerequisite to nutrient absorption

When baby teeth are not able to carry out these functions due to painful decay and premature extraction, the consequences can be far-reaching:

  • An underdeveloped, narrow face and jaw
  • Overcrowding of crooked permanent teeth
  • Difficulty thoroughly chewing food and absorbing of nutrients
  • Difficulty with sleeping, learning, and speech development
  • Traumatic and expensive dental treatments, including orthodontia
  • Sense of shame and fear of dental visits, poor oral hygiene habits

Questions? Find out more below, and call our oral health team at 360.539.7576 ext. 103 or email


Do you need help finding a dentist who takes your child’s insurance? ABCD is a preventative dental program serving children with Apple Health coverage!


Do you practice in Thurston or Lewis County, and do you want to make a difference in the lives of young children? ABCD dentists help get kids off to a healthy start!


Do you serve families with Apple Health insurance? Help ABCD spread the word about the importance of good oral health in early childhood, by being a referral partner!

Enroll in ABCD:

  1. Contact ABCD Coordinator Katrin Palmer at 360-539-7576  ext. 103, or email
  2. Your child can be enrolled right over the phone and we will help you schedule the first dental appointment
  3. Take your child to the dentist every 6 months
  4. Receive ongoing guidance and support while your child is enrolled

Provide ABCD:

  1. Register for the next ABCD training  
  2. Receive your ABCD certificate and up to 4.5 CDE credits
  3. Start seeing patients and receive the higher reimbursement granted to ABCD providers
  4. Contact the Thurston-Lewis ABCD Coordinator, Katrin Palmer, at 360.539.7576 ext. 103 or email for more information

Refer for ABCD:

  1. Share ABCD program information with families (link to ABCD card)
  2. Fill out a referral form (embed link) and fax it to us at 360.943.6400
  3. Contact ABCD Coordinator Katrin Palmer at 360.539.7576 ext. 103,  or email if you would like us to do a training for your staff

Enrollment Form
Parents or providers referring clients:
Please print and complete this form, then fax it to (360) 943-1164 or contact Katrin Palmer at 360-539-7576 Ext. 103

Online Enrollment
Parents or providers referring clients: please complete this form to start enrollment. Once submitted, parents will receive a call to complete enrollment.

The Access to Baby and Child Dentistry program — ABCD — puts young children on a lifelong path to good oral health. ABCD connects low-income families with dentists who know how to care for young kids, preventing tooth decay early and educating parents about how to take good care of their children’s teeth.

Katrin Palmer, the Care Coordinator for ABCD (Thurston-Lewis) and Oral Health Connections (Thurston) enrolls eligible Apple Health-covered children and adults into each respective program. Clients are connected to participating dentists and are supported throughout their enrollment by helping them overcome barriers to accessing care. Katrin offers oral health and nutrition education and is available for oral health talks to families and community partners. She is an active participant in two early learning/childhood coalitions and works within the Thurston and Lewis county communities to increase awareness of the importance of good oral health in early childhood and during pregnancy. Contact Katrin at 360-539-7576 Ext. 103 or