PCHS brightens the smiles of community kids

Dr. Owens DMD gives 9-year-old Jomar Paredes a checkup during Free Dental Day.

The first day of spring break was not the only cause for kids to smile brighter on March 10. It was Peninsula Community Healthcare Services (PCHS) free dental day for kids in Kenai.

PCHS Dental provided children up to 12 years of age the opportunity to receive a free visual oral exam that included a fluoride varnish and/or sealant.

“Jake Owens DMD examined all the kids and let them know how their teeth were looking,” explained Summer Hall, PCHS Operations Assistant. “The event was in cooperation with Henry Schein and the American Dental Association which is a nationwide event that gives an opportunity for kids across America to have their teeth treated and examined by a dentist.”

For the 15th consecutive year, Henry Schein Inc., the world’s largest provider of health care products and services to office-based dental, animal health and medical practitioners, played a central role in expanding access to oral health care for underserved children in the United States by sponsoring the American Dental Association Foundation’s Give Kids A Smile program, the largest oral health charitable event in the world according to Hall.

Regular dental examines is not only a contributing factor to a child’s overall health and happiness, but through early detection can reduce healthcare costs.

“It’s a great opportunity for parents to bring their kids in and have their teeth looked at, so that hopefully we catch things before they turn into a tooth ache or infection. When kids don’t make it in regularly and then develop a toothache, they come in hurting and scared and it’s hard for a dentist to give them a positive experience. So this is a great way to catch issues while they’re early and can be fixed easily. We wanted to reach out to kids that may not get in to see a dentist regularly and we had a very successful day,” said Jake Owens DMD at the PCHS Kenai Clinic.

According to Dr. Owens it’s a misconception that just because baby teeth may become the property of the tooth fairy someday that dental care can be put off until the permanent teeth come in.

“Even baby teeth can cause serious infections and pain for kids that can keep the whole family up all night until they can get to a dentist. So it’s always better to have regular exams and to be preventative when smaller, easier work like fillings can be done and avoid a painful experience,” he said.

It was reported that this year, nearly 350,000 underserved children received free oral health screenings, education and treatment at nearly 1,500 locations across the country from nearly 40,000 dental team volunteers, including 10,000 dentists, using supplies from 3,000 kits of essential oral health care products donated by Henry Schein and 29 of the Company’s suppliers.

Hall says PCHS plans to participate again next year in the in the program.

“We hope to do it around the same time of the year again next year and hope to keep giving kids a smile across our community for years to come.”

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