Giving kids a healthy grin
Local students and dental professionals intend to bring smiles to Lee County children this weekend.
The Give Lee Kids A Smile event — a program to give free dental work and dental education to uninsured children — is scheduled from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at the former W.B. Wicker Elementary School, located at 900 S. Vance St.
Wendy Seymore, one of the event organizers, said the group has helped promote proper dental health for children for a number of years but has traditionally focused on one local elementary school. This is the first year they are opening the event to the entire community.
“It's so we can make parents aware of the need for preventative care and the importance of good oral health,” she said. “And we want to serve people in the county who may not be able to get those preventative services.”
Fifty children currently are registered to receive exams and dental sealants to prevent cavities, and Seymore said they hope to assist more uninsured children. To register a child, contact Dr. Antonio Braithwaite at (919) 718-5561.
Dr. Ray Tseng, pediatric dentist at Cary-based High House Pediatric Dentistry, which is organizing the event, said their services should fill a need for children who typically fall between the cracks.
“What's unique about Give Lee Kids A Smile is that it is catered toward children with the most restricted access to dental care,” he said. “… This event is for children in the donut hole who have parents who make too much for Medicaid and too little to afford dental care.”
Tseng is also organizing a similar event in Harnett County and said he'd like for the event to become larger each year.
“I think trying a more preventative approach as opposed to a reactive approach is important,” he said. “We are trying to focus more on cost effective methods that are easier to [train kids to understand and] do.”
It's much more expensive to fill a cavity or visit an emergency room for dental care than purchasing a toothbrush and teaching children how to properly use it, Tseng said. Plus, children who have to have extreme dental work tend to be more apprehensive about visiting the dentist when they are older, he said.
The program is a collaboration among High House Pediatric Dentistry, the Lee County Dental Society, Central Carolina Community College Dental and Medical programs, Lee County Health Department, University of North Carolina School of Nursing and Lee County dental professionals.
WANT TO REGISTER?
What: Give Lee Kids A Smile, an event to give free dental care for uninsured children
When: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday
Where: Former W.B. Wicker Elementary School, located at 900 S. Vance St.
More info: Contact Dr. Antonio Braithwaite at (919) 718-5561 to register.