Community Giving, a Fourth-Year DMD Pediatric Elective and a Six-Year-Old’s Smile

Community Giving - Pediatric

Amy Kung DMD 2010 with her patient Chloe Frisk

Spring 2010

For many children, visiting the dentist is part of a normal routine in the family. Any trepidation over regular checkups quickly diminishes with the warm friendly smile at reception, the promise of a post-treatment visit to the infamous “treasure chest” and sometimes even the bonus of time off school. Twice per year this right-of-passage happens without much thought or fuss beyond the confirmation of the appointment—that is, until there is a lack of dental insurance or some other means to pay for service.

For six-year-old Chloe Frisk, who needed a lot of dental work, a visit to the dentist was not on the calendar because her family didn’t have dental insurance. With four children in the family, the Frisks simply did not have the funds to pay for Chloe’s treatment.

Providing oral health care to children in need can be challenging, financially overwhelming and sometimes even heartbreaking. It can also provide great inspiration, motivation and passion. Finding a balance is what enables good practitioners—students included—to provide excellent pediatric dental care.

The practitioners at Monarch Pediatric Dental Centre, a large private practice in Burnaby, BC, and UBC Dentistry’s chair of Pediatric Dentistry Dr. Rosamund Harrison are dedicated to providing an invaluable community service. Drs. John Hung, Elsa Hui-Derksen , Mark Casafrancisco, Peter Chan, Farah Mawani and Young Tze Kuah at Monarch regularly donate their time and talent to enable care for a number of children who, because of their complex treatment needs, may not be suited for treatment in UBC’s Children’s Dental Program.

Monarch’s generosity extends to providing a pediatric specialty practice setting for UBC dental students. Recently, fourth-year DMD students Amy Kung and Anne Kelly took part in a two-week pediatric dentistry elective at Monarch. The students provided dental services at no charge under the supervision of Monarch Dental Centre dentists and assisted by their support staff. “For those students who have an interest in treating children, this elective is ideal to enhance their skills,” says Harrison, who also points out that Monarch has, on-site, a licensed general anaesthesia facility. “Fourth-year students also give care to patients under general anaesthesia, which is a rare opportunity.”

Community Giving - Pediatric

Amy Kung (L) and Anne Kelly (both DMD2010) take a break from their work at the Monarch Pediatric Dental Centre.

Providing no-cost treatment for children in need and providing mentorship to students is a sound and benevolent combination. There are, however, some children who require general anaesthesia, which means that while the anaesthetist is paid by the Medical Services Plan, using a licensed facility in a private practice bears a fee. Dr. Hung and his colleagues at Monarch have worked closely with Chris Inkster and her colleagues at Fraser Health who identify children in this situation and refer the families to UBC—such was the case for Chloe and her family.

At UBC, the George C. Ng Special Children’s Endowment Fund provides a unique opportunity for care. Created two years ago in memory of Dr. George Ng, a community leader and compassionate pediatric dentist committed to providing the very best care for his young patients, the fund helps patients like Chloe. It covered the cost of the general anaesthesia facility fee for the extensive amount of treatment that Chloe required.

Chloe, and children like her, remind Amy of her fourth-year DMD experience at Monarch: “I witnessed the powerful effect of good patient management and was amazed that unpleasant procedures such as giving local anaesthetic injection to child patients can be done in a calm and non-traumatic manner.” Both Amy and Anne performed a wide variety of treatment procedures on a large number of children, including preventive counselling, applying sealants and doing restorations, stainless steel crowns, pulpotomies and extractions.

And Chloe and her family? “I feel extremely blessed,” says Chloe’s mother Francine. “They told me she would be in some pain and should stay home from school the next day. That wasn’t the case. She was back to herself the next day and excited to show her friends her shiny teeth!”

For Chloe, the passion of the pediatric dentists at Monarch, the motivation of dental students, the support of the George C. Ng Special Children’s Endowment Fund and the relief of her family’s financial burden are important. But, not as important as being herself, a happy six-year-old, special toy in hand, bouncing into school with a healthy smile.

 

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