Lorton It was all smiles last year when Lorton dentists Kristina Biggs and Flavia Tingling celebrated the first anniversary of their dental practice by donating dental care to dozens of uninsured children in the area.
So they are going to do it again.
On Friday, April 27, Destination Smile will host its second annual "Caring For Kids" event in collaboration with United Community Ministries (UCM) and the Lorton Community Action Center (LCAC). The event focuses on providing free dental care to children who have limited access to care on a regular basis.
"We have always valued and made community service a priority," said Tingling, who, along with Biggs, has made dental mission trips to South Africa, Guatemala and Honduras. "This is our effort to reach out to children who are not able to access proper dental care on a regular basis."
Last year, the doctors donated more than $7,000 worth of dental care to children who ranged in age from 18 months to 17 years.
During the pro bono event, each patient receives a basic exam, cleaning, x-rays and a gift bag containing toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and an oral hygiene coloring book.
Although going to the dentist is not typically high on children’s "Fun Things To Do" list, Tingling and Biggs said they try to make the experience more pleasant with their colorful, whimsical office décor. The waiting area looks like an airport terminal, and each room is decorated to portray an exotic destination around the world. The dentists are the pilots, and the staff is the flight crew.
"The décor creates an exciting experience for children," Tingling said." The objective is to make dental care and hygiene a positive focus of kids’ lives."
The doctors’ philosophy of philanthropy extends beyond their office doors: Destination Smile holds and participates in community-centered events year-round with the intent of sharing their good fortune with those less fortunate. These community gifts have included visiting schools to foster awareness of dental health, gathering over 200 pounds of food for the LCAC 2011 Easter Food Drive, gathering coats in an office-wide coat drive to support UCM, and participation in the annual Buddy Walk.
For more information about Destination Smile and the event, visit www.destination-smile.com.