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NR dentists to participate in Give Kids a Smile event

New Richmond Dental will take part in the American Dental Association’s Give Kids a Smile Program on Feb. 7, from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its office at 1367 Campus Dr., in New Richmond. (Photo by Jordan Willi)

Even though there are many people who might not like going to the dentist, there are also many people, espe­cially children, who do not regularly get the chance to have their teeth examined, cleaned or repaired.

From 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 7, New Richmond Dental will partici­pate in the American Dental Association’s Give Kids a Smile Program. The program, which has been in operation for more than 10 years, was put in place to provide free, desperately needed dental services to local, qualifying children from underserved families.

“This is the second year we have participated and in our area, the need is great for proper dental care for all ages, but especially children,” said Amy Cahanes, dental hygien­ist at New Richmond Dental. “Dental pain and problems can lead to a whole host of other problems for kids. It leads to trouble eating the  proper nutrition, losing focus in school and even missed school days.”

According to Cahanes, the dentists at New Richmond Dental were able to help 14 individuals during last year’s event.

“We were able to accom­modate a lot of children for their dental check ups and in some cases even further treat­ment, such as fillings and extractions, if time allowed,” Cahanes said. “We donated close to $7,500 of free servic­es. This year we have the abil­ity to see 28 children with plenty of openings still avail­able.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost one in four children from 2- to 11­years-old have untreated cav­ities in their baby teeth and many children enrolled in Medicaid receive no dental services throughout the year.

“This is a great opportunity for our community to take care of our children and also help parents that are in need. It’s a big relief off of their shoulders,” Cahanes said. “My hope is that this event continues to grow so we can accommodate more patients and volunteers every year.”

Cahanes and the rest of the volunteers enjoy taking part in the Give Kids a Smile pro­gram for many reasons, but getting to see the look of relief on a parent’s face after a child gets the dental help he or she needs is a major source of joy for everyone.

“I know as a volunteer and coordinator I feel amazing; it feels so good to be able to provide my services,” Cahanes said. “Parents are incredibly grateful as we are providing them with hundreds of dollars of services for their children, no questions asked.

“As for the kids, we try to make their visits as fun as possible. Dental professionals have a horrible reputation, and my goal is to make every child’s visit positive, no mat­ter the circumstances, to avoid any dental fears from ever occurring.”

Along with giving oral health care to area children, Give Kids a Smile is also meant to raise awareness of the epidemic of untreated dental disease occurring locally and across the country, Cahanes said. The program also looks to raise awareness of the need to build local pub­lic and private partnerships to increase access to oral health care to solves the crisis.

For more information on the program, contact Cahanes at 715-246-2227 or at

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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