Free dental clinic benefits students


Stephanie Jimenez

Amna Irshad is a Register Dental Hygienist for this free dental clinic. Irshad sets up to get ready for the next students after lunch.

Danielle Cardone doesn’t want to feel like she has to hide her teeth. However, what she dislikes even more is the judgement that comes along with revealing them.

Lack of a proper dental diagnosis caused her four front teeth to rot and discolor Until Feb. 22 the sophomore had not been to a dentist in six years.

On that day, while still struggling to overcome her insecurity from years ago she gained confidence that her situation isn’t permanent.

Big Smiles held an at-school clinic here in Healthy Start on Feb. 22 and 29. Three dentists offered their experience with dental hygiene to students who had signed up and qualified for the dental care.

A student could have signed up for the clinic by filling out the papers that they received in their enrollment packet at the beginning of the new school year.

Students who may still be interested can get a form in Healthy Start and they will be added to the list of students being seen on either March 7 or April 4.

These additional days have been added to ensure all student receive the care they need. Services offered include, X-rays, cleanings and, if needed, cavity fillings.

Judy Rauzi, Healthy Start coordinator, said that in past years the clinic only offered X-rays and cleanings, and if more care was necessary Big Smiles would refer the student to a different dentist. She said it is much more beneficial to the students who attend that they receive all the care they need here at school.

Students who attended on Feb. 22 all needed more detailed care than what was expected. This resulted in the attendance of only a fraction of the students who had signed up.

Originally the clinic was only set for only Feb. 22 and 29. A traumatic experience in a dental office when she was little, caused Cardone to never return. “I needed a root canal,” Cardone said. “I started to panic when they said I needed a shot in my mouth.”

Instead of going to get her parent or doing something to comfort her, she said they proceeded to hold her down and give her the shot while she continued to resist.

At the same visit Cardone also needed to fill the cavities in her four front teeth but did not, resulting in the teeth to rot and discolor. The effects have followed and continued to haunt her even now.

Junior Isaac Krietz has attended the last two years. However, this time, due to the extensive care other students required, he was not able to be seen. Making him one of the students whose first visit took place on Feb. 29.

“I stopped going (to the dentist) because my grandmother died,” Krietz said. “She was the person who always made my appointments and took the time to take me.”

While Kreitz admits that he is far from an advocate of healthy teeth, he still believes this clinic is a great opportunity for students.

“They want us to stay on the right track,” Krietz said. “I really appreciate the (Big Smiles) dentists who come to our school to work on our teeth.”