There were smiles all around at the Sunday Breakfast Mission on Aug. 16, when Christiana Care dental residents partnered with community dentists to provide free dental screenings for children headed back to school.
An estimated 2,000 children and families gathered at the Sunday Breakfast Mission on North Poplar St. in Wilmington for the annual Back-to-School Rally. The Rev. Tom Laymon, president and CEO, and his Mission team distributed backpacks filled with donated supplies to children who were preparing to start the new school year. Health guides from Westside Healthcare offered information about their services and distributed free toothbrushes.
When Rev. Laymon reached out to Christiana Care social workers for help with the dental screenings, first year General Practice Dentistry residents Candace Gaull, D.M.D., and Edward Bayley, D.M.D., were eager to volunteer.
“We screened about 135 children and provided dental education and information about follow-up care to parents and families,” Dr. Gaull said. “Many children we saw had cavities throughout their teeth from consuming sugary foods and drinks. Besides just identifying these problems, I think we were able to motivate some people to seek care and to change their diet and brushing techniques.”
The idea to offer free dental screenings at the rally was first floated by local dentists Lewis Yu, D.M.D. with his wife, Grace Liu, D.M.D., from All About Smiles.
Dr. Yu’s practice brought dental supplies and two dental hygienists along to work at the event. “We could not have carried this off without Christiana Care’s generous support, materiel and personnel,” he said. “Drs. Gaull and Bayley in particular played a critical role in this operation. They are to be commended for their skill and professionalism.”
“I am so proud of our residents,” said Susan Pugliese, D.D.S., General Practice Dentistry Residency program director. “It warms my heart that these young professionals want to share their expertise and time with those who are less fortunate. By helping one individual at a time, we are investing in a brighter future for our community.” She thanked Dr. Yu for mentoring the residents. Her department donated gloves and other supplies used in the screenings.
Christiana Care Social Worker Linda Brennan-Jones helped organize volunteers and supplies for the event. On-hand were Christiana Care Health Ambassadors and Marketplace Guides to help with insurance questions and access to follow-up services.