Locals Dentists Give Kids A Smile Saturday - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Locals Dentists Give Kids A Smile Saturday

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Some local health care professionals got together to give back to kids in need in the form of free dental care on Saturday.

Many families appreciated the work dentists did for them at a number of places, including Champagne Family Dentistry in Sparks.

"We are so grateful," said Brooke Prairie, a parent from northwest Reno. "It really is going to save us money that we really need for other things right now while we're struggling a little bit."

It's all part of the "Give Kids a Smile" program. Professionals volunteered their time to give free teeth cleanings and other services.

"And, any necessary treatment that we're able to perform today, we're able to get that taken care of," said Dr. Jason Champagne, D.D.S.

The HAWC (Health Access Washoe County) Clinic on South Wells Avenue in Reno was also packed for "Give Kids a Smile."

Dr. David White was there at the clinic on Saturday. He is the chairman of Nevada's New Dentist Committee. He says his crew provided around $50,000-$75,000 worth of dental work.

"Not only are we getting them out of pain in their teeth, but overall, we may be helping them learn better and get to enjoy life a little better," he said.

This program offers kids proper dental care that they may not otherwise get.

"It's really hard to get dental care," said Michele Parsons of Virginia City. "For us, it's really nice because we do have insurance. Although, we can't get dental insurance. So, you sometimes can't get your kids in, and this is just a great program."

"Whitney hasn't had dental work in five years," said Tracey Franklin, a mother from Reno. "She really needed some extreme dental work, and I didn't know what I was going to do. Then, when I saw this, it was kind of like a God send."

Dentists told us why it's so important for children to take care of their teeth.

"Statistics show that a lot of times when children have debilitating decay that causes pain, that can affect their lives greatly, including school work," Dr. White said.

"It's one of the most common things that causes missing school for kids," Dr. Champagne said. "They're not able to pay attention in class if they have tooth infections."

Dr. White has been mentoring pre-dental students at the University of Nevada, and on Saturday, the best of the best were invited to the HAWC Clinic to do work. Those students believe this training is important to their future career.

"To see the procedures done hands-on, and be able to assist," said Nicolette Rizzuto, who's set to go to dental school at UNLV. "We get to do prophylaxis cleanings. We get to do X-rays. We get to do sealants. That is just preparation."

"We have a concern for children and the need for dental care," said Kevin Mortlock. "Without that or this event, I don't think I would understand how big of a concern we have here."

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