To Tell the Tooth: A First-Time Dental Visit

A Brave Little Girl

Nine-year-old Amelia eased into a reclining position on the dental chair. As she did, she acknowledged, “This is my first time to the dentist.”

A worsening pain brought her to the Mobile Dental clinic.

The pain was in the back of her mouth, and her mom thought she may have a cavity. Amelia’s family has struggled to find a dentist. They’ve also had trouble navigating the complicated world of dental insurance. They don’t have the financial resources to buy dental insurance outright.

Through a smile, Amelia tells the truth: She’s a little nervous about seeing the dentist. Despite the nerves, she’s also optimistic. Seeing the dentist is important, she said, because it means the health of her teeth will improve. And that means no more pain.

One of Thousands

Amelia is like thousands of other children in Oregon who rarely if ever see a dentist. Usually, it’s because they lack adequate insurance or simply can’t access a dentist. Around 117,000 children in Oregon lack insurance, according to Oregon Health and Science University. Dental professionals consider the gap in care for children to be a hidden health care epidemic.

Amelia came to our Mobile Dental clinic because she started feeling sharp pain in a tooth several months ago. The pain eventually disappeared, but that’s when Amelia’s mother discovered the root cause was a cavity.

The volunteer dentist who treated Amelia said the pain went away because the cavity became so bad that it killed the nerves in the tooth.

As the dentist inspected the rest of Amelia’s teeth, he discovered other serious cavities.

Because of your gifts and the support of our dental professionals, Amelia received two fillings. The volunteer dentist referred her to another dentist who could perform the rest of the work. Because of your donations, children like Amelia are freed from their pain.

A Surprisingly Painless Visit

The nerves Amelia felt at the beginning of the appointment disappeared. The loving care she received from the volunteer dentist put her totally at ease. She chatted about her favorite class – math, because it was the most useful in real life, she said. She mentioned that she tries to brush her teeth everyday. And that’s a habit she’ll continue, she said, now that’s she’s seen the dentist.

And the truth for Amelia is that seeing the dentist was completely worth it.


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