The cost of health care makes it difficult --if not impossible-- for some families to get the check-ups and treatments they need.That's where great neighbors in the health care industry come in.
In the Upper Valley Health Care Facility in St. Anthony, Free Kids' Dental Day literally makes children's smiles a little brighter.
Nine-year-old Z.K. Tanamal is getting his teeth cleaned for free. Not only that, Dr. Kent Beesley does a complete check-up to see if there are any problems. He knows how valuable these free dental days are for these kids.
"Prevention we know is very key with the younger kids, so we try to help them out with education so things don't happen down the road and they can have nice healthy mouths," said Dr. Beesley.
The Upper Valley Community Dental Clinic is a non-profit operation. On the days they aren't offering completely free cleanings and check-ups, they offer discounted dental work on a sliding scale depending on the the size of the family and how much they make.
"One of our missions here is to break down the barriers to people receiving whatever care they need - that may be a financial barrier, it may be a travel barrier, it may be the distance they have to come from, It could be a language barrier," said Dr. Beesley.
Turns out Z.K. has a good dental report - no cavities. His mom Marie, a single parent, is grateful there are great neighbors in the upper valley who provide this kind of help.
"I have four kids and they get a free cleaning for their teeth so that's a big help for me, especially as a single mom," said Tanamal.
It's a win-win situation. It's rewarding for the dentists.
"Especially on Free Day when we get to see smiles on peoples' faces," said Dr. Beesley.
And it's a great help to families like the Tanamals. The four children leave the clinic with bright new smiles.
Upper Valley Community Health Care has been been around for five years and they intend to continue to offer this Free Dental Day for years to come.