Northwest Technical College Provides Free Dental Care To Kids
Northwest Technical College in Bemidji helped more than 70 kids in our community today smile a little brighter by providing them with free dental care. Yearly dental check-ups can be a pain for parents, not only in their child’s mouth, but also in their wallet.
“It’s really nice to be able to take kids to a free event to get them used to going to the dentist every year, getting their teeth checked, because sometimes the first check doesn’t go that well and they don’t want to sit very nice,” says Amy Ganoe, a mom of three.
Give A Kid A Smile is a national event put on by the American Dental Association. NTC has participated for 15 years. They took a break in 2017, but they came back to offer even more free services to kids up to 18 years old.
“I got to get my teeth scrubbed and I got to get it brushed,” says Maliah, who had a check-up today.
“Cleanings, exams, x-rays. Our dentists are determining if they need sealants. They’re getting fluoride treatments and we are for the first time this year we’re doing operative so that they can have restorations done,” says Julie Dokken, NTC Dental Assistant Program Director.
Dentists and hygienists from Park Rapids, Fosston, Blackduck and (of course) Bemidji helped out today. They were assisted by students from NTC, and many of them were NTC alumni themselves.
Dokken says, “Without the help of our community volunteers, we would not be able to do this, so they’re taking time out of their work schedules, time out of their day, or maybe it’s their day off and they’re coming and volunteering their time.”
Sitting in the big blue chair and staring at the ceiling can be a little nerve-wracking for the kids, but the dentists here make it much nicer. They also walk with a few goodies and some home care tips.
Malik, who had a check-up today says, “It was fun because I could hear the doctors talking about teeth and me and the dentist assistant kept chatting.”
Ganoe adds, “When I filled out the paperwork, she actually entertained the kids and showed them how to brush their teeth on the big model over there so that was really nice.”
“The area that’s in Northern Minnesota is a very demanding population because of the access to care. We’re talking about rural populations that reach into the excess of 60 to 100 miles,” says Dr. Scott Larson, a dentist.
Of course, more than a few kids walked away with a warm smile.
“We just feel very good about doing this and helping anyone in need out,” says Dokken.
“I’m not the big brusher, but now I kind of want to brush,” says Malik.
NTC estimates they provided about $4,000 worth of free dental care today.