“Hearts and Smiles” Event at Hamilton Emphasizes Children’s Dental Health

Hearts and Smiles targets a segment of the city population that falls into one of several categories; (1) those who have no insurance coverage, (2) those who have medical but not dental insurance and (3) those whose dental insurance only covers basic preventive services but who are in need of fillings or extractions.

“There will be free dental screenings and other services available for participants,” says Dr. Brian Lorei, one of a team of dentists and other health care personnel who combined time and talents to create this opportunity. His colleagues in this enterprise are Drs. Steve Grater, Andrew Gould, and John Kiessling. “Although the concept originated with the Harrisburg Area Dental Society, none of this would have been possible without the cooperation of the Hamilton Health Center and PinnacleHealth System,” says Lorei. “Jeannine Peterson, the Hamilton Health Center CEO embraced the idea, and Stefani McAuliffe, Manager of Community Initiatives, directed publicity efforts.” Other partners include Harrisburg Area Dental Society, United Concordia Dental and Benco Dental.

“We want the city community to understand the importance of dental health and its effect on one’s overall health,” says Lorei. “That’s why we named the event ‘Hearts and Smiles.’ Because in addition to the dental screenings, we will also provide several general health screenings, like blood pressure and glucose. Dental hygiene students from Harrisburg Area Community College will be on hand to assist, as well.”

Anyone interested in availing themselves of the services at the Hearts and Smiles program is strongly encouraged to register for an appointment. That can be accomplished starting two weeks prior to the date by calling (717) 230-3916 (Habla español provided). Walk-ins will be accepted, but on a strictly limited basis. “Before or after a patient’s appointment, he or she can visit the other services and information booths that will be in place,” adds Lorei. Of particular interest to children are three presentations, both educational and entertaining. They are “Eat Smart Play Smart” by Margie Sylman, “Super Reader” by Floyd Stokes and tours of the Hamilton Health Center’s new pediatric clinic.

“The day will be one of seeing patients and seeing their needs,” concludes Lorei, “with a view towards encouraging them to become regular dental patients at Hamilton Health Center. Even if residents miss the day, they can obtain low-cost dental services throughout the year at the Hamilton Health Center.”


Staff Writer

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