Kids Open Wide at Brooklyn Dental Screening

By Aleah Winter

“I got no cavities!” An eager first grader exclaimed to his teachers.

Justin Borja ran out of the examining room and joined his friends who were brushing a plush dinosaur’s teeth.

Justin and other students from Deborah Scott’s first grade class went on an unconventional field trip Thursday to The Smile Brooklyn Center at Interfaith Medical Center to receive free dental screenings and examinations in observance of National Children’s Dental Health Month.

It was not Justin’s first time going to the dentist. “I’m brave,” he said.

For other students like six­-year­-old Jordan Wolf, it was a new, exciting, and even scary experience. Jordan, who had never been to the dentist explained to his friends what he thought dentists did.

“They look at your teeth,” he said. “The dentist helps your teeth so they can be healthy.”

75 students, Pre­K through second grade, from Weeksville School, PS 243, were taken to Interfaith to be apart of The American Dental Association’s annual events to educate and bring healthcare to underprivileged children.

The ADA’s program, Give Kids a Smile, occurs every February and provides free screening, exams, and treatment for children. Some 40,000 dentists around the country see half 500,000 children in efforts to prevent dental diseases.

The school’s specialty Liaison Diane Lawrence said it was just round one for the students, as applications to access the free screenings were still coming in from parents.

“Maybe we can start round 2 in spring,” she said hopefully.

PS 234’s Principle Karen Hambright­ Glover found out about the event from administrators at Interfaith who sent out many invitations to schools around the community. Of all the invitations, Hambright accepted and became the first school to take part in the centers first Give Kids a Smile event.

David J. Miller, the Chairman of Interfaith’s Department of Dental Medicine, said the focus
was to educate students and parents for cavity prevention. The ADA’s goal is the eliminate cavities in children before it’s too late.

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