Dental clinic Kool Smiles, based in Southwest Baltimore, offered free dental care to uninsured children.

The event happened on May 15 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m at the Westside Shopping Center, where five of the clinic's local branches collaborated. Among the services provided in the "Sharing Smiles Day" include routine dental examinations, cleaning, tooth extraction, filling and baby tooth root canal procedures.

"Dental care is very important because it is an indication of your whole bodily health, so we want to provide the care for the children to meet their needs," said area dental director Dr. Jane Whang,.

Education For Parents

The dental clinic did not charge any fees and instead gave free dental education to parents as well.

Whang said the focus of the program was to provide preventive care and knowledge to families because in many cases, it is not a question of whether they care about dental health. Sometimes, they just don't really know.

Financial Woes

Aside from lack of information, one hindrance to get quality dental care is lack of finances.

Carolyn Ruddy, a mother from Texas, said her family came to the event to have one of her children's tooth removed. They did not have insurance and they certainly did not want to have the tooth infected or the child to be sick.

When she heard about the project, she immediately took the opportunity and availed the services. She said it is nice to have a place such as Kool Smiles when she can't afford to give her kids health services.

Volunteer Zan Haskins said there are a lot of patients that need help, and Whang added that some of the patients have never had any dental consult before.

Making It Fun For Kids

The office was decorated with colorful papers and balloons. The waiting area also had a play set and some video game setup to encourage kids.

For some children, the experience served as a volunteer work. One of the dentists named Rashmi Deshpande brought her daughter and daughter's friend, who were given the chance to help and give back.

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