DANVILLE — Four local dentists donated their services recently as part of “Smiling Faces Donated Dental Days.” It was sponsored by HALO Project, a healthy community initiative sponsored by Presence United Samaritans Medical Center’s Foundation, in partnership with local dentists and other community partners.
Dr. Michael Fuesting participated in June, and Dr. Phillip Conn, Dr. George Zundo and Dr. Jane Cooney donated their services in July.
Forty children received X-rays, cleanings, fluoride treatments, sealants, extractions, fillings and root canals, as appropriate. Each child received a goody bag with a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and an instruction sheet on proper oral hygiene. Mr. Gross Mouth and Mr. Clean Mouth were present for hands-on, healthy dental education and many children practiced brushing and flossing on both while waiting to see the dentist.
All four dentists schedule a day when they close their office to the public and provide donated dental services only to those children who do not have access to or who cannot afford dental care. The office runs as it normally would, with staff working all areas of their normal duties.
The dentists complete as much dental work as possible for every child they see as they understand the hardship that costly dental procedures can cause to a family’s budget.
“They aren’t just doing one filling and calling that donated dental,” said Kathy Richard, director of HALO Project. “Many children leave these dentists with all dental work completed that needed to be done, which in some instances is a root canal, or several teeth extracted, or many teeth filled. Their goal is to make the child’s mouth as healthy as possible in one visit.”
HALO Project recruits the children who receive services from those children identified as needing restorative dental care through the District District 118 Sealant Program.