As everyone knows, the cost of healthcare can be quite hefty, and in many cases, practically prohibitive. In these situations, parents may not be able to take their children to get dental checkups, and that is unfortunate. Learning proper dental habits and procedures early in life bodes well for great oral care – and the state of a person’s teeth and gums is a major indicator of a person’s overall health.
So what can be done for those children who don’t get this head start in life? Happily, there are organizations and charities whose aim is free dentistry for kids. Some are national, some are local, but below is a list of just a few of them and the services they provide:
- KIND Smiles: Located in Denver, Colorado, Kids in Need of Dentistry (KIND) helps eligible children all over Colorado access dental care when they otherwise would not be able to. Not only do they provide quality dental services, such as oral exams, cleanings, fillings, emergency care, and more, but KIND also provides education about dental health so that children can take charge of their own well-being. KIND is funded almost exclusively by private donations and special events, and is run by educated volunteers.
- TeamSmile: The aim of this group is to provide free dentistry for kids whose needs are underserved. Based out of Kansas City but travels where needed, TeamSmile brings together dental professionals with professional sports teams to make the necessary treatment fun and exciting for the children and volunteers. In addition to having dental X-rays, tooth extractions, and sealants, the children also get to enjoy events where there is music, dancing, and games. Who knew that dental care could be so much fun!
- Local and regional agencies: There are many agencies specializing in free dentistry for kids. You can ask your dentist for information, look online for groups in your area, or check relevant web sites for lists or details. Access includes mobile dental vehicles, school-based programs, hospital clinics, as well as stand-alone offices run by dentists who offer such services. Depending on parental income and other factors, services may be free, or a nominal fee may be charged.
Donating to these organizations is a very worthwhile endeavor – children can learn about dental hygiene, dentists can resolve issues before they become major ones, parents can know that their children are being helped, and best of all, you know that you are helping children who otherwise would not have access to what seems a basic medical service. The next time you see a child’s healthy smile, think about the groups above, or find one in your area, and help your community become a happier one.