JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C., –
Deily Dental Clinic hosted “Give Kids A Smile”, a program launched by the American Dental Association, March 23, 2018, at Joint Base Charleston, S.C. The program offers children free preventative dental services such as dental exams, fluoride treatments and education.
The mission of Air Force Medical Services is to ensure medically fit forces provide expeditionary medics and improve the health of all in the service. Ensuring the health of family members, to include children, helps provide an important support structure at home to accomplish the Air Force mission.
“Our primary duty as a dental clinic is to promote readiness for our service members,” said Capt. Matthew Burns, 628th Aeromedical Squadron general dentist. “Ensuring their families are healthy and taken care of is an essential part of readiness. Give Kids A Smile is an event designed to encourage our military families to bring in their children for a dental exam. However, the real impact of this event is allowing our family members an opportunity to raise any concerns about their children’s dental health. It allows us, as providers, to educate them on preventing future dental issues for their children. The event is also designed to make kids less scared of the dentist, which ultimately allows them to have better experiences as they get older and visit the dentist more frequently.”
Through this program, more than 5.5 million children nation-wide have received free oral health services. Give Kids A Smile events are intended as touch points for children who do not routinely receive dental care. According to the ADA foundation website, the ultimate goal of the program is to establish a ‘dental home’ for such children, as well as continuity of care.
“We don’t typically see dependents here unless it’s for a quick overseas clearance exam so it’s a treat to be able to see our patients and interact with their children,” said Airman 1st Class Kayla Morales, 628th AMDS dental assistant. “I hope this event helped parents learn what’s going on with their children’s dental health. I also hope we were able to show them that going to the dentist is a positive thing.”
Dependent children of active duty, retirees, reservist or guard members on active-duty orders were eligible for the event. Children were required to be between the ages of two and 12. More than 30 kids received exams from the clinic.
Angela Ruden, participant of Give Kids A Smile, brought her three-year-old daughter, Amalina, to the clinic for an exam. Ruden said the clinic staff made her daughter feel very comfortable during their visit.
“This event was a great opportunity to learn more about dental care for my daughter,” said Angela Ruden, participant of Give Kids A Smile. “It was also a time for me to ask questions and receive helpful feedback from caring doctors. The clinic staff did a wonderful job of using verbal education along with demonstration to involve my daughter in her dental care visit.”
After the dental exams, children received ‘goody bags’ filled with dental supplies, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss and two-minute timers to use while brushing their teeth.
“I felt the staff we spoke with at the event were genuinely caring, friendly and helpful,” said Ruden. “They find a way to relate with you on a personal level and all seemed really happy to be part of the event. I strongly encourage those with young children beginning to learn basic dental care to take advantage of any future Give Kids A Smile events.”