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Focus on hygiene appears to pay off at annual CVIM dental, vision clinic

Dana Aumiller, a Certified Paraoptometric, works with Sumin Jeong while checking her eyes at CVIM’s Give Kids a Smile and Vision for the Future Day on Friday.
Dana Aumiller, a Certified Paraoptometric, works with Sumin Jeong while checking her eyes at CVIM’s Give Kids a Smile and Vision for the Future Day on Friday. CDT photo

Dental education is paying off for those serving local youth.

Dr. Bob Kilareski, of Pediatric Dental Care, said nationally, there is a positive trend of dental hygiene in children that starts at home.

“We do talk with the kids and put this kind of education-based approach in a way they understand and then talk with the parents,” Kilareski said.

On Friday morning, Centre Volunteers in Medicine teamed up with Nittany Eye Associates and Pediatric Dental Care for its 12th annual Give Kids a Smile and Vision for the Future Day.

The event is held nationally each February. CVIM holds its own initiative each spring to bring dental and vision care to uninsured area youth, said Kristi Mattzela, clinical services director at CVIM.

About 50 Centre County kids ages 1 to 18 were served Friday, said Cheryl White, CVIM executive director.

CVIM provides uninsured Centre County residents with a variety of medical care. It serves about 1,000 individuals each year, White said.

Dentists said they saw some of the same children return this year, but without the oral problems they had in the past.

“We do this for the kids. There are a lot of people in the community without insurance and work on dental care with them,” said Fernando Tejeda, a dentist with the practice. “What we’re seeing this year is the same kids come back — this time without the cavities.”

And families said they’re grateful for a program like this.

Marchelle Guebara and her family moved to Bellefonte in October from Phoenix.

Without insurance, she said this provides her two sons, Joseph, 9, and Evan, 6, with dental care they otherwise wouldn’t get.

She heard of the event though Bellefonte Elementary School and decided to check it out.

“It’s just been very helpful,” she said.

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