In the dental community, the culture of giving is ingrained early on – most dentists begin their charitable care in dental school by reaching out in their communities, assisting seasoned dentists.
And while that culture continues through a dentist’s career and often into retirement, it’s largely done quietly, privately. Whether it’s continuing to deliver dental care to a patient of record who has fallen on hard times — something we’ve seen much of since the economic downturn — or working in the myriad free clinics and dental vans dotting the landscape since the loss of adult dental Medicaid, dental professionals continue to make time to give back. And, while children in this state utilize low cost care at a higher rate than many other states in the country, there are still many kids who slip between the cracks of dental access. So each year in February, dentists around the state organize events designed to find children without a dental safety net and deliver the care they so desperately need – providing screenings, cleanings and restorative care in their offices, on dental vans — and even in museums, as they do at Snohomish County’s “Toothapalooza.” Here are reports from events around the state.
More than 300 families turned out to participate in the 22nd annual Pierce County Dental Society Children’s Dental Health Day. Dental screenings, fluoride varnish applications, and dental treatments were given free of charge to participating children up to age 18. Eleven community agencies participated in the event, handing out free oral health education materials, mouthguards, and dental goodie bags. During the day there were a variety of children’s activities promoting oral health awareness and the importance of improved oral health.
Twenty-one dentists from the Pierce County Dental Society planned and participated in the event. Other dental affiliates participating in the event included: Clover Park Technical College Dental Assistant program, Bates Technical College Dental Assistant program, and Pierce College Dental Hygiene program.
Chompy the Carrot, the Super Tooth, and the Tooth Fairy made special guest appearances and had their pictures taken with children at the event. Chompy the Carrot gave live demonstrations to children and their families about the appropriate way to brush and floss their teeth.
Our hats are off to all the Pierce County dentists who participated in this amazing event: Dr. Jordan Harris, Chair, Dr. Robert Chen, Committee Member, Dr. Sherwin Shinn, Committee Member, Dr. Lotus Su, Committee Member, Dr. Robert White, Committee Member, Dr. Jamie Brooks, Event Photographer, Dr. Steve Beck, Dr. Diantha Berg, Dr. Lisa Buttaro, Dr. Jordan Collins, Dr. Cheri Dunham, Dr. Minou Karbakhsch, Dr. Mostafa Norooz, Dr. Sammy Pak, Dr. Adam Poyfair, Dr. Jeff Reynolds, Dr. Kelcey Rhodes, Dr. Chuck Samuels, Dr. Mark Sundberg, Dr. Houng Tran and Dr. Kevin Xu!
Dr. Lina Kim
For the past two years, Dr. Lina Kim has held not one, but two, GKAS events. This year she closed her office for a day to provide more than $4,000 in uncompensated care to low income families and residents of a nearby homeless teen shelter. The following Monday, Kim and her staff gave an oral health presentation to first grade students at the John Hay Elementary School on Queen Anne, in Seattle. Besides Dr. Kim, participants included Dr. Jessica Emard, Camilla Mesa, Pam Wallin, Edward Wang, Tara Ducay and Krisha Bautista.
In Clark County, dentists participating in the 7th Annual Children’s Dental Health Day saw 130 patients and performed restorative procedures, pulpotomies, extractions, x-rays, sealants, and fluoride treatments. Dr. Peter Lubisich, WSDA’s 2102 Citizen of the Year, and participant in the Clark County event, said this: “We ended up seeing 130 patients yesterday. While it was fewer than the past years, it still felt quite busy once we got going.” Dentists and staff volunteers at the event included Drs. Peter Lubisich, Pete Lubisich, Joe Lubisich, Eric Messinger, Joseph Sepe, Judith Ris, Conway Jensen, Frank Foreman, Robert Rose, Karl Rose, Kirk Shillinger, Dan warner, Mike Warner, Linh Vo-Cheng, David Rafael, Gene Sakai, Brian Shafer, Katy Wright, Tyler Pritchard, Rich Mielke, Munib Derhalli, Connie Brown, Kyle Ostenson, Lenna Gordon, Rick Grabowski, Richard Knight, Wanda Palena, 20 dental students from OHSU, 57 Hygiene Students from Clark College, 19 hygienists, and 36 assistants.
Dr. Fred Dahm
In Renton, Dr. Fred Dahm saw 13 kids and completed nearly $5,000 in uncompensated dental services. Dahm says, “Doing Give Kids a Smile events is always gratifying. It feels good. My team and I probably get more out of it than the kids as it is so fulfilling!”
5th Annual Toothapolooza!
This year Snohomish County dentists again teamed with the Imagine Children’s Museum to present the mother of all GKAS events — a month of various activities plus a popular evening at the museum. Throughout the month, more then 2,300 goodie bags were distributed, and more than 950 children were screened. The evening event is designed for kids ages 1 - 12 and their caregivers, with fun, educational dental-related activities and experiments throughout the museum including a demonstration of how food and drinks can stain teeth, the effects of sugar, and more. Kids were screened by local dentists, provided with information regarding follow up visits if necessary, and given goodie bags with toothbrush, toothpaste and floss. Throughout the event, the 2min2X PSAs were shown on a continuous loup.
Thanks to all who helped make this event so successful, including Dr. Nadia Abouhosn, Dr. Olga Ortuzar, Chris Morren, and Dr. Roy Carlson, Dr. Cam-Tu Vo, and Toni Aldridge. And special thanks to all the generous sponsors and donors of this event — Snohomish County Dental Foundation, Snohomish County Dental Society, Washington Dental Service, Colgate, Burkhart Dental Supply, Patterson Dental Supply and Royal Dental Manufacturing Inc.