KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A dental appointment to remember. Team Smile partnered with the Chiefs to host its annual Kansas City Oral Health Care Day.
The event provided dental care and education to more than 400 children in underserved communities, some of who have never received dental services.
It was a dental tailgate party at Arrowhead Stadium Tuesday. A DJ, dancing, and football games for the kids.
Dr. Bill Busch, alongside former Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt, created the Team Smile Dental Clinic. They team up with professional sports teams across the country to provide free dental care to hundreds of kids every year — that’s hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“With Team Smile, I think if you shock them into making it fun and easy, you can have a lifetime of success with their oral hygiene,” Busch said.
Liz Gonzales is a student in the Independence School District. She had a chipped tooth for three years. Dr. Busch fixed it – just in time for homecoming. They also gave her a filling.
“I was actually really excited about that because I wanted to get my tooth fixed before I had to take senior pictures,” Gonzales said.
Team Smile started in 2007. Since then, they’ve helped 50,000 kids receive free dental care. It’s safe to say the program took off — just like Jerick McKinnon with a football.
“At one point in my life I was that young person,” McKinnon said “So, being able to be that shoulder that the youth can lean on, look towards and look up to is definitely that important key.”
Chiefs players like Justin Reid, Chad Henne, and James Winchester signed autographs and encouraged nervous kids to sit in the dentist’s chair. So, doctors can tackle cavities and plaque.
“What could be a scary environment for these kids coming in for possibly their first dental appointment,” James Winchester said. “It’s very relaxed, fun. and it helps.”
“If we can do that for a child and save some teeth, when they grow up they’ll have their teeth,” Busch said, “that’s a big step in making them successful.”
The non-profit also announced Tuesday a new partnership with Denta-Quest — connecting participating children with a primary dentist for further treatment.
Chiefs players reminisced on their own time in the dentist’s chair as a kid.
“I’m kind of the kid who would fall asleep in the chair,” Winchester said.
McKinnon loved going to the dentist growing up.
“I think I was kind of happy because I always got to leave with the extra toothbrushes and all that. I’m still the same way and I’m 30 years old.” McKinnon said. “I’ve seen some kids in there, they weren’t really too fond of it today. So, I tried to help them get over the fear.”