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TeamSmile Scores a Win for Children’s Oral Health in Atlanta

Issue: Winter 2014

“I am naming this program, ‘Miracle on Fair Street,’” commented William Campbell, the principal of Fair Street Elementary in Gainesville, Georgia. “I am amazed that we were able to perform a miracle and serve so many kids through TeamSmile. You pulled teeth, cleaned teeth, filled in cavities, and did other miraculous works on the mouths of our children. The kids’ highlight was seeing, meeting, and taking pictures with Tony Gonzalez and the entire tight-end crew of the Atlanta Falcons. What a glorious day!”

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Candy Ross of KaVo Kerr Group visits with a participant at the TeamSmile event in Gainesville, Georgia.

That is the glowing summary of the December TeamSmile event in Georgia, in which 337 children walked away with $129,344 worth of dental and preventative care and beaming smiles! TeamSmile knows that once again, they scored and everyone involved was a winner.

TeamSmile is the brainchild of Dr. William Busch. In 2007, he heard a story about a child that died as a result of an untreated abscessed tooth, and he wanted to make a difference. He met Henry Schein’s Jason Krause, in charge of outreach, at the Company’s Chicago Winter Meeting, and together they developed the concept of partnering dental care with a fun sports experience to draw at-risk children into a dental setting. TeamSmile was born.

The first TeamSmile event was hosted at the Kansas City Chiefs’ Arrowhead Stadium. Today, seven years later, the organization has helped more than 11,000 children receive access to $4,406,000 worth of dental care. This program not only treats the children to complimentary dental and preventative care—an average of $400 per child—but it also educates the children on the importance of oral health.

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TeamSmile is a nonprofit organization that hosts complimentary dental fairs throughout the country, providing local children with dental treatment, education on oral health, and the opportunity to meet some of the biggest names in professional sports.

When Chiefs tight end, Tony Gonzalez was traded to the Atlanta Falcons, he decided to help bring TeamSmile to his newly adopted hometown. CareCredit, as part of its seventh consecutive year of donating to the American Dental Association (ADA) Foundation’s Give Kids A Smile (GKAS) Fund, became a sponsor. In addition, the Georgia Dental Association and American Dental Association helped recruit dental professionals. And of course, the Atlanta Falcons players created the once-in-a-lifetime experience and excitement that encouraged the kids to come in…Tony Gonzalez, Levine Toilolo, Mickey Schuler, and Chase Coffman.

The TeamSmile program offered screenings, digital X-rays, and treatment to the children, but the underlying value of the TeamSmile program was to educate kids about dental hygiene and break the cycle of poor oral health. TeamSmile utilized the 2min2x campaign created by the Ad Council to educate children on the importance of oral health and encourages them to spend two minutes brushing their teeth, two times a day.

“Healthy teeth and good oral hygiene matter and this lesson will have a life-long impact on children lives,” states Jason Krause.

DJ Kirby played pumping, upbeat music to keep kids and volunteers energized. The tunes also help drown out the sound of drills at the dental stations. Each child was given a Tony Gonzalez football doll so they would have a friend to squeeze and help make their dental experience a happy one.

TeamSmile is supported by its corporate sponsors: Henry Schein, Colgate, DEXIS, and Midmark, which have been a part of the program from the beginning and have stood by TeamSmile as it has grown.

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Chase Coffman and Tony Gonzalez.
Tony Gonzalez, Levine Toilolo, Mickey Schuler, and Chase Coffman of the Atlanta Falcons made the day a memorable one for the children.

TeamSmile coordinates this same high-impact program in cities across the nation, utilizing local dentists, volunteers, and representatives from each city’s professional sports team. The organization now hosts 13 programs annually, growing an average of four programs per year.

To learn more about TeamSmile, volunteer, and donate, visit www.teamsmile.org or call 816-595-TEAM.