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Smile, the dentist will see you now

By WILLIAM PAINE

william.paine@southwesttimes.com

The Smile Program, the nation’s largest in-school mobile dentistry program, has returned to Pulaski County. This week, Dr. Eric Roberts, along with his dental assistant Shannon Huff and hygienist Cynthia Stevens, were tending to the dental needs of students at Critzer Elementary School Wednesday.

Students who sign up with the Smile Program, with their parents permission, will receive a teeth cleaning and, if necessary, restorative work which includes fillings and extractions.

“We go to a different school in Southwest Virginia every day,” Roberts explained. “So we’re able to provide dental care for students who don’t have a regular dental care office that they can go to. It’s really great because we see a lot of patients who otherwise wouldn’t be able to get treatment.”

Roberts and company expect to see about 60 students at Critzer and then it’s on to other elementary and middle schools in the county. Each member of this mobile dentistry team comes from different parts of the state and meets at different schools throughout the school year. Roberts, the dentist, lives in Richlands. His assistant Shannon Huff lives in Meadows of Dan and Stevens the hygienist commutes from Abingdon. Together they cover an area that spans from Scott to Patrick counties.

Other dental teams are based in other locations in Virginia, so that the entire state is covered under the Smile Program.

The Smile Program was founded in 1997 by Dr. Margo Woll and Dr. Marcy Borofsky, two Michigan based dentists. The program is active in 18 states with over 100 local teams scheduled to work every day. These teams have over half a million encounters with students each year.

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