Because Teeth Are Important

2019 n14

Going to the dentist is nothing new for Omar. He used to go every year in his home country, but after his father was kidnapped and the family fled, it wasn’t so easy to get proper dental care. Since he and his family arrived in Knoxville a few years ago, they haven’t had insurance or reliable transportation for dental appointments, so he didn't go.


That fact changed in the summer of 2019.


While Knox County Schools were on summer break, KIN partnered with the Knox County Health Department’s School Based Dental Preventive Program to treat international families at three ESL locations in Knoxville. The dental professionals screened 52 children and teenagers, placing a total of 273 sealants on teeth.


Omar’s mother made him go to one of the clinics. Like most 14-year-old boys would, Omar said, “Mom made me, but I wasn’t nervous. I just didn’t want to go.” But once he sat down in the comfy chair, he relaxed. The process moved quickly, and he said the sealant application felt like they were just brushing his teeth. Afterward, Omar reflected, “It was very good that they came to us because we have no transportation, and my teeth are important.”


The dental professionals found some problems with Omar’s teeth while he was in the chair. “Thank God for the translator,” his mother declared. “She explained tooth disease to me and I made an appointment for my son.” Omar was one of nine young people that day who needed urgent dental care.


Through this program, the Knox County Health Department provided services valued at $15,833 and helped us bless 52 international children and teenagers in one summer!


READY TO GET INVOLVED?

The translator made all the difference for Omar’s family. Do you speak multiple languages? Want to help others who are still learning English? Volunteer as an interpreter/translator with KIN, and you’ll have many opportunities! Start here: www.kin-connect.org/volunteer.


For more on the School Based Dental Preventive Program: https://www.knoxcounty.org/health/schooldentalprogram/.


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