“This is a national effort. We created our Give Kids a Smile event to address the urgent dental needs of our pediatric community and to highlight problems that remain in underprivileged areas," said Dr. Jason Champagne. "We want to be a part of the solution. We host this event twice a year and see a large number of kids each time.
"Our children deserve a better health care system that addresses their dental needs. We also worry about the thousands of children who need dental care who won’t be at the event, the ones who continue to have trouble eating, sleeping and paying attention in class because their teeth are in such bad shape,”
The local dental practice worked with the Northern Nevada Dental Health Program, an organization that offers low-cost dental care to qualifying children, and Saint Mary's in qualifying kids for services. Each participating child must be pre-qualified.
"We went through Pathfinders Ministry of Reno and other outreach programs in finding kids that need services," said Dr. Champagne. "Many of these kids are homeless. They come from broken family structures. They're living in rentals or are between homes."
Champagne Family Dentistry has participated in the event since its inception nine years ago. The business also provides volunteer services in their office throughout the year. On Saturday, Champagne is expecting to see 60 kids, with even more children visiting Reno's HAWC Clinic to participate in the Give Kids a Smile event.
"No one likes going to the dentist but the parents are especially appreciative of the Give Kids a Smile Event," said Dr. Champagne.
The United States Surgeon General stresses proper oral hygiene, especially among youth. Referred to as homeless youth's silent epidemic, homeless children are especially vulnerable to tooth decay as they do not have adequate access to dental care. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), one in three poverty-stricken children had no dental care last year, compared to one in five children in households above the poverty line. These children are twice as likely to have untreated cavities in their primary teeth than children from wealthier families. More than 16 million children around the country are not covered for dental services. The AAPD recommends that children visit a dentist at least once before age one and bi-annually afterward.
"We want to thank our sponsors: Guru Dental, which provides dental management software, and Henry Schein, for the dental supplies," said Dr. Champagne. "This is a phenomenal program. We're happy to help and provide our services to some great kids who really need our help."
Champagne Family Dentistry is located at 735 Sparks Boulevard.
For more information about Champagne Family Dentistry and Give Kids a Smile, visit www.champagnedental.com and www.givekidsasmile.org.