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Local dental office marks 10 years of free treatments for kids

04/24/2018 01:24PM ● Published by J. Chambless

Jenny Chen has been taking part in 'Give Kids a Smile Day' for a decade.

By John Chambless
Staff Writer

For the past decade, Jenny Chen Pediatric and Family Dentistry has offered young people a chance to get proper dental care, free of charge. On March 30, the West Grove dental practice opened on Good Friday to bring in patients from infants to 17 for a day of basic dental services that can prevent a lifetime of misery.

This week, Chen said she and her assistants served 27 children that day, with most of the families driving from Philadelphia. The sponsoring organization, Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY), organizes the “Give Kids a Smile Day” each year for children to get screenings, cleanings, sealants and other services for free.

“We do all the treatments in one day,” Chen said. “We are the only Chester County participant. Most of the others are dental schools or health clinics. March is Children's Oral Health Month, so I asked if we could participate in Give Kids a Smile Day. They contacted us and they asked how many people we could see. People really appreciate it. Some families have four or five kids and they've just moved to the area, or they may not have had insurance for a long time. Some of them are foster children who come in with their social workers.”

The exams and simple treatments provided by Chen and her assistants lead, if necessary, to referrals for more difficult work that is arranged through PCCY, which works with families to secure insurance and complete other paperwork. “Several of the kids had abcesses, so they needed antibiotics,” Chen said.

Eight of the dental technicians at Chen's office are bilingual, since many Spanish-speaking families are already clients of the practice. Chen said she can converse with patients and family members, and explain procedures in Spanish.

She also works with the Delaware Chinese American Association to treat other patients, particularly students at the University of Delaware, who may not have regular dental plans or may experience a language barrier as well. She won the 2018 Distinguished Community Support Award from the association again this year.

For Chen, it's gratifying to see the results of her work. “The parents are very happy. The office is open just for those families that day, so we can spend more time talking to them,” she said. “The whole purpose is to screen to make sure they don't have a severe disease or their teeth don't show signs of neglect. It's great to help everyone.”

For more information, visit www.smilesinpa.com.

To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email jchambless@chestercounty.com.


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