Millions of people go without dental insurance, either because they can't afford it or because it's low on their list of healthcare priorities. But among those without dental insurance are children, who need to practice good dental hygiene as much as everyone else. In one uplifting news story from Texas, a dental health clinic in Killeen provided children without dental insurance with free dental care for an entire day.
According to KDH News, Kool Smiles Dentistry provided full service care to handfuls of uninsured kids this past Sunday. They performed everything from teeth cleanings to dental exams, fillings, and extractions. The event was called "Sharing Smiles," and it was the first -- but hopefully not last -- year that Kool Smiles provided free dental care services to children without dental insurance.
"It's a way to reach out to the community and offer dental work to those who need it most," said Robin Bales, the Kool Smiles office manager. "It goes along with our mission to help and serve the community, so we thought this would be a good way to broaden our horizons and reach out to serve more people in our community."
The Kool Smiles office expected to see at least 20 children without dental insurance on "Sharing Smiles" day, hoping to have every child leave with a healthy smile and a bag of dental care goodies. The day was meant to start at noon, but by 11:30 a.m., the dental clinic had already reached full capacity.
Dr. Jason Leet, a dentist at Kool Smiles, said that the purpose of "Sharing Smiles" was to provide dental care for children who need it, but can't otherwise get it. According to Texomas, one satisfied parent, Sarah Kulp, claimed that without the free dental care, her son would have to continue living with tooth pain.
"It's amazing," said Kulp. "I can't believe they've offered something free to people, especially in an economic time like this. It's amazing that you can come up here free of charge and get your kids' teeth fixed."
It was a charitable effort to give free dental care to children without insurance, but Kool Smiles can't provide free services forever. And many other clinics across the globe have to turn patients away because they can't afford dental insurance and can't pay for care. The managing dental director at Kool Smiles, Dr. D. Ray Gifford, acknowledged the fact that more children need to get dental insurance or else serious problems will go untreated.
"While Kool Smiles is proud to provide quality, affordable dental care to families with various forms of insurance... we also recognize that there are many children in our community who have no insurance and whose families cannot afford regular trips to the dentist. Children who do not have regular access to a dentist often exhibit advanced dental decay and their treatment needs are significant. We want to put a smile back on the faces of these children by getting them the dental care they need."
"Sharing Smiles" was recognized as part of Children's Dental Health Month.
[Image courtesy of Children's Dental Group]