40 Waukesha teens get free dental care

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WAUKESHA (WITI) -- There are plenty of kids who either dread going to the dentist, or put it off because it's too expensive for their families.

On Friday, all the financial concerns were put at ease at the Waukesha County Community Dental Clinic.  More than 30 dentists, hygienists and assistants volunteered to make sure teens got the care they needed.

“Some have never been to a dentist before, and the mouth affects everything in your body.  So if you have an infection in your mouth, and decay in your mouth, it can affect other things as well,” said Waukesha County Community Dental Clinic Coordinator Lisa Bahr.

It's part of the annual Give Kids a Smile Day, a national event.  In Waukesha, 40 patients from low-income households got x-rays, cleanings, exams and treatment all free of cost.

“We even do extractions and crowns if they need it.  Root canals, everything.  Last year, we provided over $33,000 of free dental care for the children,” said Bahr.

“I pay, so I don't have any insurance.  That's why I'm here,” said 19-year-old Briseida Ramos.

For some of the teens, it's the only way they'd be able to get a checkup or get the work that's long overdue.

“It would've been hard for me to come in and get my teeth cleaned if it wasn't free,” said 18-year-old Tamischa Morrison.

“In the past, I had one student who probably needed 5 follow-up appointments for extractions and fillings,” said community outreach nurse Bonnie Siegel.

It's a necessary visit for good oral health and one where cost plays no role in getting those smiles pearly white.

“You got to keep your mouth healthy or else it's going to get progressively worse,” said 16-year-old Kenneth Ray.

The students who need restorative work, like root canals and extractions, will get that done at another appointment next week.