Program provides healthy smiles

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Valley dentists gave kids something new to smile about Thursday and proved going to the dentist isn’t that scary.

The effort is part of a national program sponsored by the American Dental Association that provides free dental service to uninsured kids.

Locally, the free clinics are being held in the dental clinics at the Choffin Career Center and Youngstown State University. The goal is to get 130 children in for a visit in just two days.

Dr. Sergio Nadler is the program director for Give Kids a Smile in Ohio. He said teeth cleaning, fluoride treatments and fillings are all done free of charge.

”We’re happy to provide the service again, the more we do the better,” said Nadler. “In a regular office you may be looking at upwards of $100 to $120.”

The dental clinic at Choffin’s School of Dental Assisting was used to facilitate the program on Thursday. Friday, a clinic is scheduled at YSU. Instructor Tina Davis said she appreciates all the volunteers who come out to help.

“We are very happy to help the children in the community and meet their dental needs,” said Davis. “There are dentists and hygienists who have taken the day off at their office and volunteer, and they’re just so wonderful to come help us out.”

Nadler said early intervention is very important, and many times this is the first dentist visit for a lot of children.

“I have probably seen about 10, and more than half had some kind of cavity in their mouth,” said Nadler. “It’s important to see them very early on.”

This is the twelfth year for Give Kids a Smile Ohio. It’s provided more than 10 million dollars in free dental services to close to 200,000 children. In Youngstown, more than 800 kids have benefited from the program.

“This is a lot of commotion, and I don’t hear a lot of crying which is a good thing,” said Nadler. “There’s hopefully a positive experience, and they feel this is something they can keep doing.”

All children seen at the clinics are pre-registered. For more information on the program, click here.

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