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- The Tooth Fairy of North Dakota
The Tooth Fairy of North Dakota
Do you believe in the tooth fairy?
We do. Wanna know why? Read on.
Despite being six years-old, it was the little girl’s first time visiting a dentist. She nervously wiggled her loose tooth back and forth as she stepped closer to the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile. The bright colors and Ronald McDonald’s out-reached arms on the truck helped ease her worries.
With a big smile, Dr. Christy welcomed her on board and into the exam room. The girl opened her mouth and the cleaning and polishing began. As Dr. Christy reached the loose tooth, she gave it one more nudge and it popped out. She slipped the tooth into a bag, handed it to the girl and said, “Put this under your pillow tonight for the tooth fairy. But since you lost your tooth here, she might get confused. So check with us tomorrow, the Tooth Fairy’s gift for you might be here by mistake.”
That night, the tooth fairy did come to her house. And the little girl proudly showed Dr. Christy the next day, while her dad thanked her for her care and compassion.
Dr. Christy and the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile (RMCM) of North Dakota started delivering dental care to vulnerable populations in Bismarck and its surrounding communities last February. The team is focused on reaching children in areas with the greatest need including reservations and Head Start programs. The RMCM treats many of the children’s dental needs on the spot with a new 40-foot-long, state-of-the-art mobile clinic; a dentist, dental hygienist and dental assistant from Bridging the Dental Gap, Inc.; comfort and compassion, signatures of RMHC programs; and yes, a little magic from the tooth fairy.
“Being able to remove pain for a child is a remarkable mission,” said Kathy Kaiser, executive director of RMHC Bismarck, the Chapter that owns and operates the program “This is a dream come true for many—after more than nine years of planning and fundraising, we’re finally on the road filling a huge gap in health care for children in North Dakota.” In just two months of operation, the RMCM has served 324 patient visits, providing 380 fillings, 420 sealants and 21 extractions.
Dental care is one of the largest unmet healthcare needs for children in low-income and rural communities in America, like the six-year old girl who visited Dr. Christy for the first time a couple months ago. Luckily, this girl didn’t have a chronic dental issue. But many other patients that Dr. Christy sees have mouths with as many as 26 cavities - children who have never known a life without pain. And for a child with a toothache, that pain can impact their ability to eat, get a good night’s sleep and learn in school. In the U.S. alone, it’s estimated that more than 51 million hours of schooling are lost annually due to lack of dental care.
The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile program and the vital role it plays in alleviating disparities in dental care, is why we believe in the tooth fairy. And by helping support the 46 Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles, driving to deliver cost effective, quality care to children in nine different countries, you can help ensure that children get the treatment they need to get and stay healthy.