This weekend was Give Kids a Smile Day. If you don’t know what that is, it is a national day for free dental care for kids up to age 18. It is usually the first weekend in February. There are many organizations that help make this day a success. Our local organizer is thru Community Action Partnership in Santa Rosa. CAP has mad it easier for dental professionals to find places to volunteer and also made it simpler for patients to find care.
Dr. Lieu and I, (Oriana) participated this weekend. Dr. Lieu was at the Rohnert Park Health Center on Friday and he and Oriana were at Fountaingrove Dentistry in Santa Rosa on Saturday. The dental team at Fountaingrove open their office for both days and provided teeth cleanings and care for over 100 children. In 2017 we hope to host this special day in our new facility, so it was great to see how they did it.
These volunteer days are sort of bittersweet. It is sometimes heartbreaking to see how some people suffer through their days with tooth pain. We also see a lot of rampant tooth decay from baby bottle decay or just lack of access to care. What does that mean? Basically you see lots of people who are doing the best they can, but may have challenges. Most often it is money, being able to get to a dentist, or lack of education about good food and drink choices or habits relating to oral hygiene. Usually it is the simple things like proper brushing and flossing technique that can make a huge difference in someone preventing cavities or gum disease.
For children with rampant decay (cavities on more than 6 teeth), we are lucky to have PDI here in Santa Rosa. They offer the service of sedating kids and fixing all of their cavities, usually at no cost to the family. Often they set up payment for the treatment thru MediCal and work with the family to make sure it gets done.
I often spend time talking to parents about why fixing small cavities on baby teeth is worth the cost and time. One cavity quickly leads to 2, then 4 then 8. The state of California now requires a dental visit for entering kindergarten. Kids with huge cavities on their teeth, can’t concentrate because they are in so much pain. Also, a child doped up on Tylenol or pain meds all the time is dangerous for the development of other organs and the brain.
I am thankful that we have so many free resources here in Sonoma County. For those who do not need free care, there are many fine dental providers all around that can make a difference in a child’s oral health.
Here at Blue Apple Dental Group, we offer Happy Visits for kids 10 and under. We believe that the early experiences a child has with going to the dentist will make it easier for them in the future. We make Happy Visits fun and interactive to dispel fears and build trust and relationships. Look for these cards out and about in the community for these visits. $65 covers the cost for an exam, xrays, cleaning and fluoride treatment. We also accept most PPO dental insurances. Have a question about your coverage? Give us a call. We are happy to help. 707-795-4523