|By G. Michael Dobbs|
AGAWAM Jose Rodriguez may have been in a dentist chair, but he was all smiles.
The Springfield youth was one of more than 30 members of the Springfield Boys & Girls Club who participated in a program to support dental health on Feb. 24. Dr. Christopher Magiera of Agawam donated more than $5,000 in dental procedures during the first "Give Kids a Smile Day."
Across the nation dentists took part in the event organized by the American Dental Association (ADA) and Stacy Magiera, the office manager for the practice, said it would be an annual event.
Stacy Magiera said thae ADA encourages its members to participate to "bring to the forefront that children are under-served in oral hygiene and oral care."
Some of the children have never seen a dentist, she said. Many people do not have dental insurance and many dentists do not accept the Mass Health program for low-income families, she added.
"Some children fall through the cracks," she said.
The children participating in the event had examinations, cleanings, fluoride treatments x-rays and sealant.
The doctor and his staff worked on the children from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a van from the Boys & Girls Club transporting them back and forth. Each child received a "goodie bag" of items to help encourage good dental health.
Sponsors of the events included Unifirst, Storrowton Tavern, Patterson Dental Supply, Sullivan-Schein Dental Supply, Crest, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and Delta Dental of Massachusetts.
"Everyone has the opportunity to make a difference in today's world," Dr. Magiera said. "The hygienist, dental assistants and multiple volunteers who all take part on the 'Give Kids a Smile' program will bring together an awful lot of talent and hard work in order to make a difference in the lives of these Springfield children."