Atlanta, GA., Oct 18, 2018
A team of Kool Smiles dentists and clinical staff recently returned from a mission trip where they spent a week delivering much needed dental care to nearly 200 children and adults in the Accra and Kumasi regions of Ghana. Kool Smiles partnered with Touch A life, part of Kool Smiles’ global outreach initiative, Kool Doctors Giving Back, which aims to bring, quality, compassionate dental care to underserved communities throughout the world.
Dentists Abrefi Asare, DDS, from Laredo, Texas, Tashiba Nelson, DDS, from Orangeburg, South Carolina, Tsebaot Indrias, DDS, from Baltimore, Maryland along with clinical team leader Teri Brown from Louisville, Kentucky, and dental hygienist Amy Le from Atlanta, Georgia, were selected to participate in the mission trip to Ghana September 8-14, 2018. During their time abroad, the Kool Smiles team spent several days performing dental examinations, extractions, restorative procedures and cleanings while also educating children and adults about the importance of oral hygiene.
"When children lack dental care, it impacts their quality of life and can cause suffering leading to an inability to eat, sleep, learn and play," said Tashiba Nelson, DDS. "Everyone should have access to quality, affordable dental care, regardless of where they live—whether it’s South Carolina or Ghana, Africa."
"Being able to give back to my homeland by educating and motivating the Touch A Life children to improve their oral health made this experience extremely rewarding," noted Abrefi Asare, DDS, who was born in Ghana and immigrated to the United States.
The Kool Smiles team was met with big smiles and open arms from the families of the Ghana community. The communities visited have extremely limited access to medical and dental care, making this trip a positive step toward empowering a healthier and happier future for children in underprivileged areas abroad.
Dr. Indrias added, "As a dentist, I really shouldn’t be surprised by a smile, but it was a look of appreciation on the beautiful children we treated in Ghana that made this the most humbling experience."
The Kool Smiles team selected for the Ghana trip all support the mission of giving back to communities here at home and abroad.
"One of the reasons I became a dental hygienist was to help people, do something positive and give back to the community," said Amy Le, a dental hygienist at Kool Smiles. "I’m grateful I had the opportunity to broaden my impact and serve children and families in communities on another continent. Our mission made a difference in the lives of those we treated and in our lives as dental providers caring for others."
"I have always wanted to give back on a global level and this trip gave me the power of bringing happy, healthy smiles to families in Africa," said Teri Brown, clinical team leader at Kool Smiles.
Touch A Life, a global organization that focuses on developing creative ways to bring healing and empowerment to those who are suffering, exploited or at-risk around the world joined the Kool Smiles team in Ghana. Their programs include, The Touch A Life Care Center in Ghana, Life Academy, Art Healing, and Grief Community. In Ghana, the organization worked to provide long-term care and rehabilitation for child survivors of forced labor.
"There are health-related needs at the Touch A Life Care Center, including dental care, so it was wonderful to have a dedicated, passionate dental team on site to provide annual check-ups, customized dental care, and educational tools that will make a lasting impact on the children and families we serve," said Rachel Brown, Development Director at Touch A Life.
Launched in 2016, the Kool Doctors Giving Back initiative aims to bring, quality, compassionate dental care to underserved communities at home and abroad. The Kool Doctors Giving Back program is sponsored by the Benevis Foundation.
For more information about our mission trips with other partners, please visit www.koolsmilesjobs.com/ksgivesback.
About Kool Smiles
Kool Smiles is dedicated to creating a world of happy, healthy smiles. As a leading dental health provider, Kool Smiles' mission is to improve lives by providing high quality dental care in a fun, compassionate environment. Kool Smiles dentists are proud to offer care to kids and adults with almost any insurance plan, including State Children's Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP), Medicaid and Tricare. Kool Smiles also provides oral health education programs through partnerships with community schools and organizations. For more information, please visit www.mykoolsmiles.com.
The Benevis Foundation is committed to improving dental care access and outcomes for underserved communities in the United States through research, education and outreach. The foundation sponsors ongoing research on the role of Medicaid dental providers in improving access to preventative care, early intervention, and dental health education among traditionally underserved pediatric populations, as well as research on the cost savings associated with improving access to dental care among these patient populations in both federal and state healthcare systems. Through these research efforts, the Benevis Foundation hopes to provide data that informs and strengthens public policy related to dental access and affordability. For more information, visit http://benevis.com/benevis-foundation/.