Free dental care brings smile to childrens' faces
By PAMELA SROKA
HILLSBOROUGH -- More than 40 children had something to smile about Friday after Towne Centre Family Dental brightened their teeth for free.
The dental facility on Route 206 offered its third annual "Give Kids a Smile Day," which was started nationally by the American Dental Association in 2002.
Last year, the dental facility offered $25,000 worth of services to needy children, most living in Hillsborough and Manville, free of charge. The dental office hoped to meet or exceed the same goal this year.
The facility's three dentists, Albert Internoscia, Lauren Psillos and Dawn DiGrazia, three hygienists, three clinical assistants and two office staff members volunteered their time and services from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday for the cause.
"We just try to take care as much as we can," Internoscia said. "We try to make it a good day for the kids."
Internoscia said parents learned about the event through school handouts and at businesses with the help from the township's Economic and Business and Development Commission. He added the children would normally get dental care only if in pain, and it likely would be at a Medicaid clinic in Somerville or Manville.
While staring up at cartoons on a flatscreen TV, Maria Escamilla, 9, a fourth-grader at Hillsborough Elementary School, braved the filling of six cavities and two root canals. Allen Lopez of Weehawken, a dental assistant, asked the youngster how she was feeling between drilling performed by Internoscia.
"Wow, this is really great," said her sister, Mariana Escamilla, 19, a 2005 Hillsborough High School graduate. "I thought maybe she would get a free cleaning, but they're doing her cavities now. They're giving their own time for people who really need dental care."
Robin Redling of Manville said she couldn't believe the news when she heard her son, Blair, 5, would be receiving a free cleaning.
"I think it's great," she said. "My first thought was I didn't believe it."
Internoscia said each child would also be leaving with a pink balloon and a dental hygiene kit donated by Crest complete with brushing booklet, toothpaste and a toothbrush.
"This may be the first time to the dentist for some of these kids and we welcome the opportunity to make a difference in their life," he said.
In addition to "Give Kids a Smile Day," the dental office also will be visiting kindergarten and preschool children in Manville and Hillsborough throughout February to teach the children about proper brushing habits. Those children also will be receiving goody bags in celebration of "Children's Dental Health Month."
"We're trying to teach them that going to the dentist is fun, and they shouldn't have any fears," Internoscia said.
Towne Centre Family Dental was joined by about 40,000 dental professionals and volunteers nationwide in providing free educational, preventive and restorative dental services to children from low income families at 2,000 locations across the country, according to the American Dental Association.
Article Taken From the Courier News website www.c-n.com.