Dr. Robert Hulbert and his partner, Dr. Paul Ellington, gave away smiles at their Cascades office Friday morning.
The dentists shut down their office to regular patients and opened their doors to children in need of dental care. The dentists have been participating in the national "Give a Kid a Smile" Day for three years.
"Loudoun is one of the best socioeconomic counties in the country, but the need for dental care is huge," Hulbert said. "Some of our kids need it, so we do as much as we can in one day."
Hulbert and volunteers performed between $10,000 and $15,000 worth of dental work Friday.
"We saw about 25 kids today," he said.
Their office was packed with patients, siblings of patients and balloons and toys.
ELLINGTON AND HULBERT partnered with Loudoun County Public Schools nurses, to reach out to students in need of dental work.
Hulbert explained that many parents he’s encountered on days like Friday can’t afford insurance.
"When you have to choose between groceries and a cleaning, it’s a no-brainer," he said.
Nurses selected students based on dental screenings completed in February.
"Most of the parents don’t speak English and don’t have health insurance," Hulbert said. "They’re afraid to reach out, so the nurses help them, explain to them what we’re doing today."
Rolling Ridge Elementary School nurse Alice Gursky was on-site to close the language barrier.
"We sent nine students from our school to the dentists' office," Gursky said. "Three of them needed urgent care."
The three families were from Africa, Central America and Saudi Arabia.
"They didn’t have any kind of insurance," she said. "I would see these kids regularly with toothaches so we sent them to the office."
The doctors attended to all of the students needs.
"They didn’t just do cleaning, just do fillings, they extracted teeth, gave fillings," she said.
In total, Loudoun County nurses sent 25 families to Ellington and Hulbert Family Dentistry.
"We got as much done as we can today," Ellington said. "Usually, we do cleanings one day, then schedule fillings for another day. We try to get it all done for these kids today."
THE MOST important part of the job for Hulbert and Ellington was educating the parents and students about the importance of dental hygiene.
"Parents want what is best for their children," Hulbert said. "We teach parents the importance of dental hygiene so they can teach their kids. The whole family has to be educated to break the cycle."
"The day went smooth," Gurkey said, "and there was such a need."