MANVILLE: Dental practice helps kids have a healthy smile

By Mary Ellen Zangara, Special Writer
   Manville Dental Group provided free dental care to 41 children during the five-hour event Friday as the group participated in the Give Kids A Smile program to kick off National Dental Month.
   The nationwide event is observed the first Friday of February and focuses on providing oral health education to all children despite their economic status. Give Kids A Smile was designed to provide preventative and restorative care and education to low income children who do not have access to the care.
   ”Although our goal was 44 children we still rate our day as a total success. Many of the patients we treated were new to the office but some we have treated only on Give Kids a Smile Day for the last six years,” said Nicole Kurz, the event coordinator. “The dentist can be a scary place but it’s my goal is to have these kids wanting to come back.”
   The three dentists — Dr. Gary Small, Dr. John Chen and Dr. Nirali Trivedi — along with their staff spent the five hours taking care of their patients.
   ”We have a few families that have returned to several GKAS events. It just proves the necessity for this program is real,” said Dr. Small, practice owner and founder of the GKAS event at Manville Dental Group.
   ”These children only associate the dentist with fun. Removing the fear of the dentist will build a strong foundation for a lifetime of good oral health,” Dr. Trivedi said.
   Ms. Kurz was very pleased again this year with the event.
   ”All the families are very grateful for these services, but it’s the excitement the children bring that really make all the hard work worth it. The children that attended our event may not have the opportunity to visit the dentist regularly but our event provides care they deserve despite their families economical restraints,” she said.
   Deborah Sacks-Wilner of Skillman came with her husband Steven and their two children.
   Ms. Sacks-Wilner said, “This is the most awesome thing. It is a great experience for the kids. It is very helpful when we don’t have dental insurance and you can’t otherwise afford something like this.”
   Mr. Sacks-Wilner likes the way that the event is run. “The way that it is done, the kids love it. When you say we are going to the dentist, you do not get the normal ‘oh no’ you get, ‘OK, cool.’ It is all done in a way that is very kid friendly.”
   Members of the Manville Dental Group thanked Manville Pizzeria and Pizza and Pasta who supplied items for their goodie bags, the school nurses of Manville who went out of their way to help find families to qualify for the event and to Melzo the Clown and Nick Dante from Reality Blurred for performing in the lobby for the event.
   Both are Melzo and Nick Dante are patients at Manville Dental Group and are recognized by the New Jersey Dental Association for their volunteer work.