Easing children's fear of the dentist with the Milwaukee Brewers
Drea Jagow from our Milwaukee office takes us on her TeamSmile journey
At around 9:00 AM, buses started rolling into the parking lot. The kids were a mix of emotions – while some looked excited, most were reserved. Roughly 175 children from several Milwaukee Boys and Girls Clubs joined me and 32 other DentaQuest volunteers at the Milwaukee Brewers Miller Park for this July TeamSmile event.
Quick backstory: DentaQuest is a national sponsor of TeamSmile, which hosts free children’s dental clinics together with local professional sports teams. Mascots, cheerleaders, and sometimes even players interact with the kids during the event to get them excited about their oral health. Local dentists and hygienists volunteer to provide care so that every child in attendance receives a dental exam, preventive services like sealants or fluoride varnish, and restorative care if needed.
The Brewers’ event was a beautiful sight, with the community coming together to help these children in need, but this sentiment came in contrast with the sounds of children’s cries as they were nervous and scared about being seen by a dentist, like many kids are. This is where my volunteer group came in.
The flow of the event had the entertainment and activities as the last stop. There was face painting, games, a dance floor, and fun physical activities (planking can be fun, right?). The children that had received services came through en masse; some quiet, heads down with gauze in their mouths still taking in the work that had been done. But then they came to our area and we were there to make it all better.
I volunteered as a face painter. And I should tell you, I am an executive assistant by day and face painter by never. But I wanted to contribute in a way that would be memorable for the kids, even though there was a high chance they might leave looking like my 2-year-old did the job. Each child chose a picture for me to paint on their precious little faces. One by one, I painted princess crowns, superhero masks, unicorn faces, tigers, and more.
People say beauty is a white smile, but we know when it comes to our mouths that beauty really is about health. When I was done, one by one, the kids looked at themselves in the mirror and gave me what all of these volunteers worked so hard to restore and protect — their beautiful smiles. And after each child left, I was filled with such pride to work for a company with a strong, powerful, and much-needed mission. I will definitely be back at next year’s event and continue to do my part to improve the oral health of all.
Looking for some inspiration to promote improved oral health at home? I present to you, DentaQuest senior leader Brett Bostrack flossing like a boss!!