Content provided by Candy Ross, Director of Industry and Professional Relations, KaVo Kerr Group, NA Equipment
A few years ago, eight-year-old Sarah visited a Give Kids a Smile® (GKAS) event in Arizona. As a child who had little experience with dental care, she obviously needed some TLC after her extensive dental work was completed. I hugged the little girl, helped to dry her tears, and of course, give her a gentle lecture about the importance of daily brushing. Sarah looked at me and replied, “Sometimes I don’t have time to brush my teeth because I have to wait until my three older brothers are finished with the toothbrush.”
It is because of Sarah and children like her that we, initially DEXIS and then others in the KaVo Kerr Group, strive to bring dental care to less fortunate children nationwide. The impact that these events have is very apparent as busloads of children arrive at our venues. I recall some sage advice from President and CEO of Henry Schein, Stanley M. Bergman, who once said, “You can do well, by doing good.” We have a strong history of supporting national and international outreach programs including Give Kids A Smile®, TeamSmile®, Share a Smile and Mission of Mercy®—part of our “doing good.”
I am proud to work for a company that recognizes its corporate and community responsibility to give back to those less fortunate. Since GKAS inception, DEXIS has supplied digital radiography equipment, image management software and technical support at the program’s events each year to help children in need. Over the years, our other brands have followed suite in supporting this and other organizations as we share best practices.
In nearly all these events, DEXIS donates DEXIS® Platinum™ sensors, and sister-company Aribex donates NOMAD® hand-held portable X-ray units. For example, on November 3, 2013, the day after the ADA meeting in New Orleans, the team brought eight sensors and eight NOMADS along with donated materials from Kerr TotalCare and Kerr, to the first ADA-sponsored Mission of Mercy event where dental professionals saw 800 people in one day. Having the ability to take digital X-rays at any of the humanitarian programs is imperative. In many cases, these digital images are printed and stapled to the children’s records to take home and hopefully use in the future when they connect with a local dentist for continued care.
On December 6, 2013 in Atlanta, 400 children were seen at a TeamSmile event, which brought out players from the Atlanta Falcons football team to attract the youngsters and their parents. DEXIS, Aribex and others from the KaVo Kerr Group were represented by way of equipment and volunteers.
We don’t stop with helping children. In July, DEXIS donated Platinum intra-oral digital sensors and image management software to Share a Smile, a non-profit organization that provides dental services for homeless adults to help them become employable again.
At these settings, people return home with much more than just dental care. Sarah also went home with some great advice and toothbrushes so she doesn’t have to share one with her brothers anymore. Recipients also gain the knowledge that many thoughtful dental professionals care about children and their dental futures. Of all the patients I have come into contact with at these events, Sarah is indelibly etched in my mind, and I vowed to tell her story as much as possible to encourage others to grow these initiatives. Efforts by our brands plus the gift of time from a myriad of volunteers throughout the year make it all possible—and all of the hard work is worth it. Because of the thousands of stories of children like Sarah, we know that we have made a difference.
You, too, can make a difference. All of these outreach programs accept volunteers!
About Candy Ross
Candy’s dental career started when she received a hygiene degree and then pursued work in research. She then became involved with the corporate side of the industry. Her journey with KaVo Kerr Group began when she joined DEXIS in 1999. Over the years, her responsibilities have grown to include acting liaison and facilitator between industry associations and Key Opinion Leaders and the entire portfolio of KaVo Kerr Group equipment brands. Recently, the American Dental Association (ADA) presented Candy with the first Steven W. Kess Give Kids a Smile Corporate Volunteer Award for her long-term dedication to growing the program. She has been and continues to be a strong advocate for the dental care of the underserved population.