Give Kids A Smile

A program designed to put smiles on the faces of children in our state is now facing the reality of state budget cuts.

In year's past the dental office at Eastern Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry in Greenville is filled to capacity. This year, dozens of children did not show up.

Previously a public hygiene health liaison would help identify children in the most need for dental care. But that position was cut and it was up to the school system in Pitt County to help out.

While local and state lawmakers and state dignitaries stopped in to see the program in action, dentists are concerned about the future of this free service. Dr. Billy Williams says, "I think it's important to draw attention to the problem to make sure our legislators know that to realize there are kids that need help and anything we can do in the state of NC to get care and improve the access to care."

To date, more than 14,600 dental volunteers have provided over $10.5 million in oral care to more than 123,000 children across the state.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by This was a blessing Location: Ayden, NC on Feb 4, 2012 at 12:47 PM
    My kids participated in this program for the first time this year. Even though my kids brush twice a day, floss and almost never drink soda, genetics have given them weak teeth. I work my tail off but only make minimum wage, my husband doesn't make much more than I do no matter what we try to do. We just scratch by every year. Our kids get their well check-ups when we get our tax returns because we just can't afford it otherwise. Dental is even pricier. Thanks to this program my kids were able to have the couple of cavities they have filled, receive fluoride treatments, sealants on newly emerged adult teeth and my daughter had some of her baby teeth pulled due to infection. The bill would have came 1,400 if the service hadn't been free. There's no way we could have afforded that this year, we can't afford insurance. God bless them for helping my family out in a rough time in our lives. When we're doing better I plan to donate to this service so that other children can get the same help. It's not about what you think of the parents, it's about the kids. They deserve healthcare, this program makes sure they get it. That's a blessing and a gift. Those kids don't have any say in their financial situations and their healthy should suffer because of it.
  • by Black Business Owner Location: Greenville on Feb 5, 2011 at 07:42 PM
    I know probably a dozen of these dentists that volunteer their time, their staff, and many of the supplies used to help these children. Yes dental insurance is expensive but just like doctors, dentist have to cover their butts so that they are not sued for missing something by some damn idiot. We don't view are teeth as much as we view our body because not very do our teeth really hurt us. Attcking these dentist for giving of their time is just wrong.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 5, 2011 at 05:35 PM
    Why are not ALL our children able to use this service? I am an American citizen and have worked hard all my life but little Maria Gomez-Lopez from Mexico gets in line for things in front of my kids for services her parents should not be able to get for her! Sick of handouts for people that DO NOT DESERVE IT. Kids or not. Our kids have parents too and they are here legally and pay taxes.
  • by McArthur Park on Feb 5, 2011 at 02:36 PM
    It is like every other social program that these bureaucrats are devising. It is free only to the special groups that are "entitled" to it. The funds are probably for materiels neede to perform the services. Truth be told, these bozos with their "free" giveaways have put the cost of this kind of care out of the reach of most hard working families. Throw the rest of the bums in our legislature out in the nest election.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 5, 2011 at 08:23 AM
    I hate it for them but MY KIDS have not been to the dentist is 3 years because we do not have insurance. TOO EXPENSIVE! After they take all the oral photos, take molds of their teeth, and a few other un-necessary procedures you don't want before they actually CLEAN THEIR TEETH - your bill is $200.00! If you have more than one child, imagine your bill? Oral pics yes, because they cannot see between the teeth or below the gumline for decay but the rest of the procedures are NOT necessary and should be a CHOICE of the patient. Not the dentists way of gouging their patients for more money. Sorry but its true. JUST SAY "NO" to the frivolous extras.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 5, 2011 at 05:12 AM
    To SouthernGal: You seem to know how this program works. Could you expand on describing how it works? At one point the article refers to volunteers, yet it also references state funding.
  • by SouthernGal Location: Greenville on Feb 4, 2011 at 05:51 PM
    This is not directed at the children that need these services, but the parents too slack to show up for a scheduled appointment. I work in a medical office where "state funded programs" are usually a no show. I realize this article is about the actual funding of these programs, however eventually offices will not want to accept these patients.

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