February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and to celebrate, Kids in Need of Dentistry (KIND) held its annual Give Kids a Smile Day February 1 at Dahlia Campus for Health and Well-Being, providing free dental services to about 41 children.
The event serves kids who do not have insurance or are in need of dental care including cleanings, x-rays, fluoride applications, extractions and fillings.
“We know how hard it is for some of these families to get the dental treatment they need, and to be able to provide it for them with no charge and see the difference we make is really rewarding,” said KIND’s Office Manager and Clinic Coordinator Angela Flores.
KIND hosts the event at one of their four locations every year, and this was the first time it’s been held at Dahlia Campus. The Dahlia Campus clinic has four chairs and three staff members in addition to Angela, including a dentist and two dental assistants.
Volunteer dentist Dr. Kate Murphy joined KIND’s staff dentist Dr. Leroy Maes for the event, along with Executive Director Julie Collett, RDH, and Program Director Michelle Quigley, RDH (both dental hygienists).
“We saw a lot of families that were really excited and interested in coming to our clinic again in the future,” Angela said.
The staff’s way of making families feel safe and at home is what makes a child’s experience at the clinic so special.
“I love being able to see a kid that is really scared of the dentist come in, have a happy experience and leave with an appreciation for it,” Angela said. “We help them know that we’re here to make sure they have healthy smiles, and seeing them leave with a smile on their face makes all the difference.”
KIND serves children with Medicaid and CHP, and those with no insurance, who receive a 75% discount. They also offer a $39 special for a first-time child’s initial exam, including a cleaning, x-rays and fluoride treatment. The clinic also has funding available for any Denver Public School student who needs dental care and can’t afford it.
The clinic’s inflow of patients is steadily increasing, and they now have full days at Dahlia Campus, usually serving around 15 to 25 children every Wednesday from 8 am to 5 pm.
“It’s really exciting to see the schedule get bigger and bigger,” Angela said.