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Mobile dentist unit visits Boro, helps about 2 dozen
Dental Bus
The Make A Child Smile mobile dental clinic is seen parked outside the Department of Family and Children Services office in Statesboro last week. - photo by JAMES HEALY/staff
   The Help A Child Smile mobile dental clinic rolled into Statesboro last week and actually left a few kids in tears — after they received first-rate dental care.
    “A couple of the little ones cry,” said Melissa Heath, manager of the mobile clinic. “But the care we give is good for them, even if they don’t know it!”
    Founded in Conyers, Ga., by Dr. Mark Shurett in 1993 after 14 years of family practice, Help A Child Smile offers comprehensive dental care including x-rays, fluoride treatment, sealants, comprehensive exams and cavity treatment. The mobile clinic parked outside the Department of Children and Family Services (DFACS) office in Statesboro last Wednesday and Thursday.
    “It’s great service to the community and we wish more people would take advantage of it,” said Rebecca Boston, director of Bulloch’s DFACS office. “The clinic started coming a few years ago and I see more and more people using it.”
     Help A Child Smile accepts most insurance, including Medicaid for those ages 4 to 20 years and PeachCare for ages 4 to 18 years. Heath said the clinic travels all around the state and comes to Statesboro about twice a year.
    Gene Barrett takes the x-rays and he also is the mobile clinic’s driver. He estimated about two dozen children would receive care in the two days the clinic was in Statesboro.
    “It’s very rewarding to see these children get the dental care they need that they probably wouldn’t get otherwise,” Barrett said.
    Heath estimates the clinic has served more than 100,000 kids through the years. She said it is the first visit to a dentist for more than 50 percent of the children who come to the Help A Child Smile clinic.
    Boston said she expects the clinic to return in about six months. For more information about Help A Child Smile, call (800) 770-0388.