"Big Smiles" puts little smiles on local elementary students' faces
Dental disease causes 51 million lost school hours every year. On average children miss two days of school due to dental problems.
On Tuesday the Big Smiles dental mobile van paid a visit to Red River Valley Elementary School to provide free dental cleanings to students. This way they would not miss school and parents would not miss work.
"Dental care is very lacking in this area of Kentucky and with Big Smiles, we can provide those services here on site," said Julie Rogers, Family Resource Center Coordinator.
"Some districts have a larger need and we can save them over 300 days of school," said Sheila Vanderhoof, Team Leader of Big Smiles.
She has worked for the dental company for four years now and says she sees dental issues everywhere.
"It's not only for underserved children its a program that's open to everyone. There is just as much decay in Northern Kentucky, Southern Kentucky as there is in Eastern Kentucky," she said.
And with the help of the Red River Valley Elementary School Family Resource Center, Big Smiles helps make family's lives easier.
"For families that can't get to services we bring the services to them," said Rogers. "And family resource centers are here to bridge those gaps to connect families to programs that are available."
Students were able to sign up at no cost to them and receive a full dental exam complete with cleaning, counting teeth and an x-ray.
"One of the things I think that really makes us different is we can take mobile x-rays. And that gives us the ability to see decay that we can't see in the child's mouth," said Kim Wilkins, a dentist with Big Smiles.