On Saturday, March 10, when most dental offices were closed for the weekend, the doors of Alameda Pediatric Dentistry were open. Inside the sunny, South Shore Center office, Doctors Ngo and Katheria were busy administering fillings, crowns, and sealants to six young patients whose families could not afford dental care.
The doctors’ volunteer efforts were part of Give Kids a Smile, an American Dental Association (ADA)-sponsored program that galvanizes dental societies, schools, and health centers across the country to provide free oral health care services to children who come from low-income backgrounds.
Doctors Ngo and Katheria were not alone in the office – several caring Alameda Pediatric Dentistry staff joined their efforts to service and educate underserved children ages 4 to 7 and their parents.
“We really appreciate our staff for volunteering their time to help these families,” Dr. Ngo says. “We could not do it without our wonderful team. The energy and enthusiasm at 7:30 in the morning was invigorating and we all really enjoyed this special event.”
Alameda Pediatric Dentistry’s Operations Manager, Mari Cyphers, explains that parents and kids waiting for their turn were treated to a Tooth Fairy Island presentation. Staff brought out coloring books and games to show how fun and easy it is to take care of their teeth at home.
Four-year-old Delilah, who received fillings and crowns, and seven-year-old Alan, who received sealants and fillings, were among those who benefited from Give Kids a Smile. Chances are that with the help of the encouraging Tooth Fairy Island lesson, they will not be returning for another filling any time soon.
According to Dr. Katheria, most of the patients treated during the event were from Alameda and selected through the dental office’s own pool of patients, as well as from the Alameda County Dental Society’s own Give Kids a Smile event on February 25th.
As of Thursday, March 15, the American Dental Society reports that over 1,600 Give Kids a Smile events have taken place this year, resulting in over 405,000 children served by about 10,000 dentists and 30,000 other volunteers.