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Children’s dental needs are great; Spring Event proceeds will help

| Date Posted: 3/29/2011

FirstHealth Dental Care Center

Since its opening in January 1999, the FirstHealth Dental Care Center-Troy has served more than 6,000 Montgomery County children. The clinic’s current staff is pictured as follows: (front row from left) David Williams (dental program manager), Melissa McIntosh (Montgomery Community College dental assisting student) and Phyllis Briles (dental hygienist); and (back row from left) Robin Allen (dental assistant), Gloria Alvarez (dental patient service representative), Regina Marsh (dental office coordinator), Dr. Anbec DeShield (dentist), Judy Wilson (dental assistant), Sahiralin Jaimes (dental patient service representative) and Allison Thompson (dental assistant).

The following story is the second of two stories about programs that will benefit from proceeds from the 2011 FirstHealth Montgomery Foundation Spring Event.

TROY – One out of five children on Medicaid doesn’t see a dentist in a year’s time. That’s a national number.

David Williams, program manager for the FirstHealth Dental Care Centers, thinks the number is even more pronounced in the FirstHealth of the Carolinas service area.

“It’s tripled if not quadrupled,” he says.

Although the need is great, the FirstHealth Dental Care Center-Troy, which records about 260 patient visits a month, has undoubtedly had an impact on the dental health of Montgomery County children. The clinic’s work is supported by the FirstHealth Montgomery Foundation, which will hold its annual Spring Event on Saturday, April 16.

Proceeds from the fundraiser will also support the Adult Dental Program at FirstHealth Montgomery Memorial Hospital.

Highlighted by a “Viva Las Casino Night” theme, the Spring Event will be held at the James H. Garner Center in Troy. The evening will include games of chance, cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvres. Casino tables will be open from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., a silent auction will begin at 6:30 p.m., and a live auction will get under way at 8:30 p.m.

Tickets are $50 per person, and reservations can be made by calling (910) 571-5024. Dress is black tie-optional.

“The fundraiser will help with our operations in Troy,” says Sharon Nicholson Harrell, DDS, MPH, director of the FirstHealth Dental Care Centers in Troy, Southern Pines and Raeford.

Since the FirstHealth Dental Care Center-Troy opened in January 1999, its staff has served more than 6,000 children, providing general dentistry and education about dental hygiene for uninsured, Health Choice and Medicaid patients ages 1 to 18.

“They’ve got their fingers on the pulse of the community,” Dr. Harrell says. “It’s a very committed group.”

Gina Smith, the family nurse practitioner for the FirstHealth School Health Centers in Montgomery County, agrees that the local need for childhood dental care is great.

“We refer a lot of students with serious dental problems to the FirstHealth Dental Care Center and work with them for covering the uninsured through the Kids in Crisis Fund,” Smith says. “We have more than 2,400 students registered at the two Student Health Centers, and 78 percent have either Medicaid/Health Choice or are uninsured.”

The Kids in Crisis Fund assists Montgomery County students with complex dental specialty needs that exceed the scope of the care provided by the Dental Care Center. Children assisted by the Kids in Crisis Fund have included:

  • A young boy with an adult tooth that was broken in half while he was participating in sports
  • A 12-year-old girl with an impacted tooth with a cyst around it
  • A teenager with a failing root canal

In addition to the services it routinely provides, the FirstHealth Dental Care Center-Troy played an important role in the three-year Montgomery Smiles! program that put dental sealants on the teeth of underserved children in every Montgomery County elementary school. Between fall 2002 and spring 2006, 2,274 students were screened and 1,242 students got sealants at the Troy Dental Care Center or in the offices of participating private practice dentists.

The total monetary value of services provided by the Dental Care Center alone was $55,966.

“Many of the students had urgent needs,” Dr. Harrell says. “At Candor Elementary, one out of three students had never even seen a dentist before.”

The Dental Care Center will also join local dental practices for a new dental care program that is scheduled to start soon. Montgomery Smiles Again! will provide routine dental exams, X-rays and cleanings for underserved students throughout the entire Montgomery County school system.

What:   FirstHealth Montgomery Foundation Spring Event “Viva Las Casino Night”
When:   Saturday, April 16, 6:30 p.m.
Where:  James H. Garner Center, Troy
Reservations: (910) 571-5024.
Tickets are $50 per person.
Proceeds will support the FirstHealth Dental Care Center-Troy and the Adult Dental Program at FirstHealth Montgomery Memorial Hospital.


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