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Taking a look inside: Dentists give free check-ups to kids

One by one, 205 Thomson Elementary students opened up and said "ahhhhhh" Friday -- the first time some of the children had ever had a dental check-up.


Kindergartener Treasure Lowe opens wide for Dr. Alfred Wyatt.

"This is a great opportunity for our children," said school Principal Donald Davis.

Standing in the hall outside a conference-room-turned-examination-room, he said a student had already been to the office Friday morning and had to miss class time because of a toothache.

"This type of event gets us in the preventative mode, and it benefits the students and the school," Dr. Davis said.

Thomson dentist Curtis Pickard joined several dental professionals from across the state at the elementary school Friday. The event was a joint venture of Affiliated Computer Services State Healthcare Solutions, the Georgia Dental Society and the North Georgia Dental Society and similar to one held in Augusta earlier this month.

Dr. Pickard said the event allowed some children who normally would fall through the cracks to get proper dental care.


Gildah Wilson, a dental hygenist in Dr. Pickard's office, demonstrates the correct way to brush teeth.

"As a healthcare provider in the community and realizing the excessive need that exists ... especially in the African American community, by virtue of bringing in a group like that we are able to meet some of those needs," he said.

He said the event also showed children what their future could hold.

"We had a variety of healthcare providers there from the African American community that could serve as role models for these children," Dr. Pickard said. "It was a pretty exciting experience, and I would hope that the kids would see it like that."

Georgia Dental Association President Dr. Alfred Wyatt, of College Park, Ga., said the Thomson event came at the urging of Dr. Pickard.

"He allowed us to come in," Dr. Wyatt said. "We're always looking for sites all over the state."

Thomson Elementary students started their check-up in a room with dental hygienist Gildah Wilson and her big-mouthed purple dinosaur.


Thomson's Dr. Curtis Pickard tries to get a student to show his teeth during Friday's check-ups.

She demonstrated the correct way for kids to brush their teeth and tips for better dental health.

"You can't go in the bathroom for just two seconds and then come out," she said, encouraging the students to spend more time brushing their teeth to do a thorough job.

Dr. Pickard said Friday's screening at Thomson Elementary was his chance to say thanks to the area.

"It made me feel like I was giving back to the community that has done so much to accept to me to get established as a practitioner," he said.


  • Encourage children to brush their teeth properly at least three times a day, usually after every meal. (Parents should brush their child's teeth up to age seven.)


    Derreawn Fields gets checked.

  • Insist that they floss their teeth at least once a day.

  • Buy them lots of fruits and vegetables.

  • Protect their teeth with a mouth guard if they play sports.

  • Buy only sugarless gum.

  • Change their toothbrush every three months.

  • Take them to the dentist every six months. (Infants should start seeing the dentist by age one.)

  • Protect their teeth with a night guard if they clinch or grind their teeth when they sleep.

    Source: ACS State Healthcare Solutions, Georgia Dental Outreach Initiative, Alfred D. Wyatt Jr., DMD, PC


    Ashley Cushman (left) talks to Dr. Deborah Mackerson of Augusta.


    Kyle Simmons waits for his check-up.

    Web posted on Thursday, January 27, 2005

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