Hundreds of metro kids get free dental care at the K through Team Smile

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Original Post

Hundreds of metro kids’ smiles got a little brighter Friday at Kauffman Stadium.

Thirty dentists came out to donate their time for Team Smile. They gave oral health assessments, dental services and taught low-income Kansas City kids about dental health.

It’s a partnership between the organization and the Kansas City Royals. Their goal is to give them treatment in a fun and non-threatening environment, hoping to instill positive dental health throughout their lives.

They do this because not only does it help families who can’t afford regular dental care, but they know for many going to the dentist isn’t always fun.

“We have to like open our mouth for a long time. Right now I`m waiting to get my teeth checked,” 8-year-old Brian Williams said.

For some of the kids, they couldn’t remember the last time they went to the dentist.

The organization helps kids through different community organizations like Big Brothers & Big Sisters, homeless shelters and kids in foster care. The organization serves kids from 5 to 18.

“They get their examinations. They get their x-rays. They eventually get their cleanings,” Executive Director John McCarthy said. “Then we diagnose what they need, and through this program here today, they’ll be able to have teeth pulled. They’ll have cavities filled. They’ll have root canals done.”

“They`re probably going to take out our cavities. If we have a bad tooth, their going to take it out, and we can put it under our pillows,” Brian said.

“It’s great, and I thank them for doing stuff for us,” 9-year-old Xavion Perry said.

It wasn’t just 30 dentists who donated their time. Team Smile had over 150 volunteers Friday in a different positions. McCarthy said there’s such an outpouring of support they often have to turn volunteers away.

“It warms my heart big time because some of these kids have never seen a dentist. Some of these kids have never brushed their teeth before. So it’s hard for me to believe that,” co-founder Bill Busch said. “The dental community has a big heart. They`re closing down their offices, the dental students, dental hygienists, and our sponsors are here to give these kids a dental experience of a lifetime.”

It’s something the kids, even at their young age, can appreciate.

“I like the dentist because they help you get better teeth, and then they teach you something,” Brian said.

“Thank you for taking care of us, and making us healthy,” Xavion said.

To date the organization said its have helped more than 25,000 kids and provided $15 million in free dental care.

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