Local Dentists Give Kids A Smile

Like the saying goes, "You're never fully dressed without a smile."  Not everyone, however, is eager to show their pearly whites, especially children.  For more than 60 Tyler ISD students, Friday that was all about to change.

The doors at St. Paul Children's Foundation in Tyler opened early Friday morning, for children like Andre Flores, 12 who are in desperate need of dental care.

"Today, what we are doing is each child that comes in, we look and see what their immediate need is and see how many we can do today," said Tyler dentist Doctor Charles Robertson.  As Andre now so proudly displays, Friday is Give Kids A smile Day, a national event where dentists come together and provide free dental care.  St. Paul's provided 10 volunteer dentists, Friday morning.  The Wellness Center in Longview had several volunteers as well.

Like Andre, many of the children need cleanings, fillings and some even extractions, but the day is also about education.

"You know old Pokey the horse here has a bunch of teeth," said event organizer Dr. David Nichols to one of the children.  "You ever seen teeth like that.  Cleaning your teeth every morning and night is very important to get the plaque off your teeth."  In the end, the children not only walk away with a bag full of goodies, but a brighter smile they can all be proud of.

"Thank you for helping me fix my tooth," said Andre.  Give Kids A smile Day kicks off National Children's Dental Health Month.  Over the years, today's event has helped more than 450,000 children.

Molly Reuter, Reporting. mreuter@kltv.com