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Several local children had plenty to smile about Friday — as soon as the Novocain wore off.
Children received free dental treatment in the first of three treatment days through the Rotary Smiles program. Children in the Elizabethtown Independent Schools and Hardin County Schools districts receive free dental exams and, for children who have issues, follow-up treatment to take care of their problems.
The Rotary Club program reaches out to students who have a financial need to receive free dental treatment.
Local dentists volunteer their time, staff and supplies to treat children, and Elizabethtown Community and Technical College, Western Kentucky University, Hardin County Water District and the Lincoln Trail District Health Department also participate.
The children were examined in September, and close to 50 have been and will be treated, said Susan Gifford, project coordinator, and Nick Ising, an orthodontist involved in the project.
Gifford volunteered with the program last year as one of many community members who came together to make the project happen.
“It’s just a perfect collaboration of what we can do in our community,” she said.
Ising said dentists look for issues such as cavities, especially when a child has several, which typically means they haven’t been able to receive treatment in a while.
About 20 dentists and hygienists are taking part in the program this year. Ising said he participates “just to help the kids in the community who need the most help.”
Derek Durbin, a local dentist, has been a part of the project for about four years. Durbin said the program works well and gets the children who need the most help in exam chairs. He likes helping a community that “supports my livelihood on a daily basis.”
“It’s an opportunity to give back,” he said.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.