'Give Kids a Smile' provides dental care to uninsured kids
Smiles are free, but a healthy smile? Not usually.
Luckily every year, children have a chance to access dental care through the American Dental Association's “Give Kids a Smile” program.
Gateway Dental Associates teamed up with the ADA on Saturday, Feb. 2, for the nationwide program, which offers free cleanings, exams, fluoride, and x-rays to children under age 18.
“This program is for people who are uninsured, or have no dental insurance,” said dental hygienist, and program coordinator Lois Cosgrove-Fluegel. This was the High Street office's first year participating in the event.
Doctors Wendell Anderson and Brad Palter own the practice, and say that this year they saw 11 kids, ranging in age from age two to 18.
They hope to get the word out and help out more kids when the event rolls around next year.
“The idea with cavities is, if you catch it early, you can take care of it,” Dr. Anderson noted.
Dental work can be pricey, but without regular care as children, problems can creep into adulthood.
“If they don’t have care, there’s [teeth] crowding issues,” said Cosgrove-Fluegel. “They’re going to have problems as adults if they don’t take care of it at a young age.”
Unfortunately, dental care can become optional rather than routine when it’s expensive enough to sink a household budget.
“Some kids had never been to the dentist,” Dr. Plater said of Saturday's patients. “The parents were very appreciative.”