Give Kids A Smile!

By: Christine Kennedy
By: Christine Kennedy

The cost of dental care for an average family could run into the thousands of dollars. And that's if you have insurance. For the uninsured and the underprivileged, a national program gave parents a reason to smile today.

The "Give Kids A Smile" program offered free dental care for children at a dental office in Greenville. 150 area kids were signed up to get their teeth cleaned, filled or pulled Friday. Phillip Chen of Greenville has three children who were seen Friday.

In Eastern Carolina finding a dentist is almost as hard as paying for one. There are four counties in our area, that do not have one dentist.


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  • by Howdy Location: Washington on Feb 8, 2009 at 07:37 AM
    Ginny, I think that is great what you are helping to do. But I do have some questions. I thought that medicaid patients already received the care they needed. I know that not every dentist accepts medicaid, but the ones that do are able to provide maintenance and upkeep for those with medicaid, right? Or is it limited? I was on medicaid growing up and at the time it only cover check ups and extractions. But now I hear about people getting more care than I did, cleanings and cavities and such. Has medicaid now decided to cover these things or is this due to better dentists going the extra mile?
  • by Ginny Location: Vanceboro on Feb 7, 2009 at 05:36 PM
    I am proud to say that I work as a nurse case manager, and have been successfully participating in a pilot program called Carolina Dental Home. Seven dentists in Craven County and one in Jones County have agreed to see Medicaid patients and we are hoping the program will encourage dentists in other areas to join in providing care to patients insured with Medicaid throughout NC. I know it is still difficult for those without any insurance, but hopefully we are headed one more step in the right direction. Dental care for the uninsured should be given top priority. As Howdy correctly stated, proper dental care can prevent other serious health issues in the future, which in turn creates a cost savings for everyone!
  • by Howdy Location: Washington on Feb 7, 2009 at 08:07 AM
    Some are still neglected, and thats a shame. My dentist told me that he hasn't seen teeth as bad as some here since he worked with the people of Appalachia. Those people barely have electric and running water, we have those things, and our teeth are just as bad. Dental problems also lead to other health problems. So proper care now, could prevent problems in the future. Unfortunately, it would most likely be at the tax payers expense, and we know how well tax payers love it when their money goes to help someone less fortunate.
  • by Howdy Location: Washington on Feb 7, 2009 at 08:02 AM
    While the give kids a smile day is a great thing, it is only 1 day a year, and focuses just on children. We need more resources to take care of the low income population around here. Right now there is the Bernstein clinic over in Greenville. It is based on your income, but it is very hard to get seen, average of 4 month wait for a new patient. Also, they do not handle dental emergencies. No pain relief. The income guidelines are a little off too. The sliding scale is based on a percentage, for example if you are on sliding scale b, you'd pay 40%. Unfortunately, the 40% is off of their inflated pricing. With a scale B, for simple things like cavities and extractions, you would pay less by paying full price at a regular dentist. And for most of the people around here, it is a choice between going to the dentist or eating, or paying electric. Therefore, some are still neglected.
  • by nyscof Location: ny on Feb 7, 2009 at 04:33 AM
    Most dentists neglect low-income Americans all year, except for one “Give-Kids-A-Smile” day, filled with media events, feel-good stories, corporate sponsorship and costly t-shirts. But when the media spotlight goes out, so do the dentists. At the same time, organized dentistry fights hard against any viable group willing to alleviate the US dental health epidemic year-round What is needed is to train Dental Therapists in this country. It takes two or three years. They drill, fill and pull teeth as effectively as dentists and have been working for decades in developed countries. As a result, children in New Zealand have no unfilled cavities because they are seen in school by Dental Therapists every year. Organized dentistry is at odds with public health dentists over this. The latter favor Dental Therapists. Organized dentistry doesn't like any group infringing on its lucrative monopoly - even if it means Americans must suffer with dental neglect - 364 days a year.
  • by need more dentists Location: Washington Co on Feb 7, 2009 at 03:42 AM
    this topic needs to be @ the top of the state to do list! in our county there are 2 dentist but they are outrageously expensive and do not take medicaid. the "poor" and "underpriveliged" typically just go without. The state needs to step up to the plate in getting dentists in these small towns and making sure kids get the care they need. Dental issues stay with you for your whole life and can be a very big part of self image. Some people do not acheive their goals because they have such poor self image.
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