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Pictured here is “Sparkle” a member of the Smile Defenders, Aubree Matheny.

Wilson Martino Dental ‘Free Kids Day’ stresses the importance of prevention in dental hygiene

BUCKHANNON – Buckhannon’s Wilson Martino Dental office saw nearly 50 children free of charge during their annual “Free Kids Day,” event Thursday, Aug. 5.

“Free Kids Day,” allowed families with children 12 and under to make a dental appointment and be seen free of charge. Wendy Boyce, marketing director for Wilson Martino Dental, said the Buckhannon location had approximately 46 children scheduled, but all seven locations saw a total of approximately 300 young dental hygiene patients.

“We bring everyone in for a free appointment, so we take care of all their hygiene needs, which is preventative cleaning exams, X-rays, fluoride — the works — and then anything we find during that exam that our doctors can fix today, same-day work, we go ahead and do that, too,” Boyce said.  “It might be a filling or an extraction; it’s whatever we can do to help all the kids get healthier.”

She said the annual event has been going on for 15 years.

“We recognized a need here in West Virginia, so we could actually use our time and talents to help, because prevention is key,” Boyce said. “There are a lot of people that may not have insurance coverage, or maybe just aren’t sure how to go about getting coverage, and we can help with that, too, so our goal initially was to develop a program where we can get everybody to a healthier oral state, and then also help parents find the resources they need to keep that up.”

The event typically takes place in July or August, just in time for back-to-school.

“This happens once a year at all locations, we do it in the summer right before school starts so we can help with the needed school forms and get everybody ready to start the school year with a healthy smile,” Boyce said. “Watch our Facebook page for update; it’s on our website, and all you have to do is call the office to reserve your appointment.”

She said if the dentists find a problem that can’t be resolved that day, they will try to work with the family.

“Of course, we let the parents know what’s going on, and there are a lot of different reasons why we might not be able to do something same day. If there’s infection, you require antibiotics — just different things, depending on the circumstances but we can help them get that work done,” Boyce said. “We have payment plans. We can help them with resources, for example, medical card applications. We will do anything we can to help parents get the proper care for their kids.”

Patients may also be visited by volunteers dressed up as the “Smile Defenders.”

“All of our kids volunteer because they want to give back and our vision as an organization is to help, so our kids love it,” Boyce said. “They gladly give their day to help and make kids smile; it just makes everybody very comfortable when you come in, and it’s a fun atmosphere. We have characters and we have pretty pictures on the ceiling in the hygiene rooms, so it’s a very nice way to kick off a good healthy dental routine.”

More information about the “Kids Free Day,’ can be found here.

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