Free Dental Clinic in Ellsworth Makes Both Kids and Parents Smile 

A trip to the dentist can sometimes be a scary thing for a kid, but the Caring Hands of Maine Dental Center in Ellsworth is hoping to change that. On its “Give Kids a Smile Day,” which the center held on Saturday, it works to give little ones a positive experience at the dentist’s office. And since services are free on this day, it’s not scary for the parents either.”Any chance you can get, any free dental health, take advantage of it,” said Richard Ames of Bucksport who brought his two children to the clinic. Director of the Caring Hands of Maine Dental Center Dr. Timothy Oh said, “What we’re looking to do is provide care for kids who really have difficulty getting care otherwise, so we’re looking for families who don’t have coverage, who don’t have MaineCare, who really have limited resources in terms of seeking care of their kids.”The annual event provides full treatment including restoration and extraction, but it also teaches kids good habits to bring home.”We talk to them about brushing your teeth two times a day, how you get a cavity, what gingivitis is, and we actually show them on an actual typodont how to brush their teeth so there is no question about it,” said dental hygienist Katie Tusing, who works at the center and helped organize the clinic. For these dentists and hygienists who volunteer their time for this event, there’s no question that what they’re doing is working.”We’ve been doing this for a couple of years now and so what we found is kids who came in two years ago with a mouth full of cavities were able to keep them from getting new ones, so we can fix the problems they have and with proper education and some training on what to do at home everyday we can prevent new problems from happening,” said Dr. Oh.Because while they can’t offer free care everyday, they hope what these kids learn about their teeth will be used everyday.