Kids Smiles: A Cornerstone of Dental Care in Southwest

Wearing a face mask, visor, and heavy protective clothing, Kids Smiles Dentist, Dr. Kevin Krick, examines a young Southwest patient.  The youngster will receive ongoing advice on oral hygiene and good nutrition.
Wearing a face mask, visor, and heavy protective clothing, Kids Smiles Dentist, Dr. Kevin Krick, examines a young Southwest patient. The youngster will receive ongoing advice on oral hygiene and good nutrition.

Oral hygiene education and good nutrition remain priorities  

In sustaining its extraordinary dental care for our children, Kids Smiles Clinic in Penrose Plaza has a guiding principle: It’s even more important for our kids to follow good oral hygiene, eat healthy, and continue  regular dental checkups given the many extra pressures on families during the coronavirus epidemic!

That was the message of Erika Sands, Development Manager for the organization that provides ongoing quality dental care to over 17,000 area children. “Oral health and good nutrition are basic to children’s overall health,” she stressed.

There was a period of adjustment after State virus safety guidelines were mandated in March, “But, we’re back to just about the same level of dental care for children as before the COVID-19 crisis.”  

Sands noted that a key part of the Kids Smiles approach has always been education.  It took the form of organized outreach to schools in Philadelphia and nearby suburbs.  It also included those special learning opportunities to assemble kids on the rug in a corner of the waiting room while they were waiting for their appointments.  In the latter intimate setting, of course, the educators could relate directly to each of the kids and cover the basics of brushing, flossing and good nutrition.

“We have been developing virtual education tools we can use on video and on the web,” Sands indicated.  “We hope to have these ready when school begins, and Upper Darby and Delco Head Start are already interested.”  In this regard, she mentioned that the virtual approach will make provision for the ‘First Smile’ program that introduces the dental experience to children up to age three.  

We have the same system of appointments as before and continue to accept new referrals,” noted Sands. 

 It’s not easy for the Kids Smiles clinical staff at the Penrose Plaza clinic to spend the entire day in cumbersome protective clothing.  But, they want to keep young patients and their families safe from viral infection.

“Where necessary we try to adjust to walk-ins, as well.”

Of special concern of Kids Smiles management was the wellbeing of its staff.  “We have modified our routines to be safer than ever,” Sands maintained. “This means for instance wearing our masks for 8 to 10 hours straight and assuring that everyone adheres to strict social distancing.”

Fundraising is also an important consideration since Kids Smiles still follows the vision of its founder, Dr. Joseph R. Greenberg, to provide quality dental care to underserved families regardless of their insurance.   

“Our parents say that they understand and appreciate that we adhere to the State and CDC  precautions when they come to the clinic,” Sands concluded – referring to taking temperatures using the new infrared method, answering questions about possible virus exposure, wearing masks and restricting the number of people in the waiting room.

To contact Kids Smiles for appointments, call 215-492-9291.  To find out more about Kids Smiles programs or to make donations, visit its informative website at: www.kidssmiles.org

(Photos courtesy of Erika Sands at Kids Smiles)

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