If a person brushes their teeth twice a day for two minutes each time, they will spend 76 days during their life brushing. Oral hygiene is critical to preventing tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath and for maintaining a beautiful smile.
The Carle Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMFS) staff plays a critical role in providing much-needed dental care to area residents through A Day of Healthy Smiles. Staff members donate their time and department resources to serve those who can’t afford dental work.
“These patients are in dire need of help. They don’t have insurance or money,” said Jodi Adams, DA. “Some of them are in excruciating pain, and they don’t have anywhere else to go.
"They’re so appreciative of the work we do.”
Carle OMFS staff works with Parkland College, SmileHealthy, Ragle Dental Lab and local dental offices to provide necessary dental care during A Day of Healthy Smiles.
“When the community comes together to combine resources, we can make that much more of an impact,” said Dana Hagerstrom, Carle community benefit specialist. “Though we are not a dental office, Carle can provide assistance, programs and resources far beyond the walls of our hospitals and clinics to reach people in need.”
The Carle team includes oral surgeons, oral surgery residents, patient service representatives, dental assistants, registered nurses and patient care managers.
Adams is passionate about the work the team does at this event.
“I’ve participated in A Day of Healthy Smiles since the beginning,” Adams said. “It’s an amazing thing to see. Everybody works together and works hard to help these patients get through their tough patches.”
The team serves between 85 and 100 underserved community members at the yearly event. Many receive multiple services—extractions, fillings and same-day delivery of partials and flippers.
The Carle staff also delivers smoking-cessation education at the event.
“We try to help get the patients out of pain, but we try to educate them about their dental health, too,” said Angela Thornton, DA.
A Day of Healthy Smiles is just one of the many ways Carle serves its communities.
“Working with community organizations to initiate and expand a host of healthcare services is central to what we do,” Hagerstrom said.