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New dentist joins in group practice's Give Kids A Smile tradition

February 20, 2012

By Jean Williams, ADA News staff

Dubuque, Iowa—Dr. William McBride is new to dentistry, new to the group practice Midwest Dental and new to the tradition of Give Kids A Smile. But the Feb. 3 event gave him a grand old feeling: excitement.

“It was great to see kids who needed the work,” said Dr. McBride, who has been with Midwest Dental for seven months and is the only dentist in its Dubuque, Iowa, location. He graduated from the University of Iowa College of Dentistry in 2010.

Joining the tradition: Dr. William McBride smiles with a patient during a GKAS observance at a Midwest Dental location in Dubuque, Iowa.

Midwest Dental started in Mondovi, Wis., in 1968, and has participated in GKAS events for many years. “They have expanded now to 58 clinics and more than 300 doctors and staff who participated in the 2012 Give Kids A Smile event,” Dr. McBride said. Last year, 48 clinics participated, contributing an estimated $196,000 in care, Dr. McBride said.

At his location in Dubuque this year, Dr. McBride and his staff contributed about $2,390 in services, he said.
“We saw several children who had never been to the dentist,” he said. “They were really excited to see us, and that was a great experience to see them for their first dental visit.”

Presenting access to care to kids who needed it was something of a revelation for Dr. McBride: “It was kind of shocking to see that they had never been to the dentist before,” he said.

Dr. McBride and his small staff—a hygienist, an assistant and an office manager—saw five kids during the Feb. 3 GKAS observance. They had hoped to see more. “It was a relatively small turnout, but we were able to do a lot more on the kids we did see,” he said. “So that was satisfying. We were prepared to see about eight to 10 kids. We ended up seeing five. We still thought it was successful. We stayed busy.”

Dubuque has about 60,000 people and “quite a few dentists,” Dr. McBride said. But, “there are a lot of surrounding communities that are more rural and that don’t have the same access to care,” he said. A couple of the kids came from those rural areas outside of Dubuque, he said.

Dr. McBride’s GKAS patients ranged in age from 8 to 17, and they were provided with a range of dental services.

“We did mostly preventive care and diagnostic exams,” Dr. McBride said. “We did X-rays. Everybody got a cleaning and fluoride. We did a lot of dental sealants. We also did one filling for a front tooth that was fractured.”

To spread the word, Dr. McBride pushed out communications through the local media. “One of the local radio stations gave us a little spot to make an announcement, and then they did an interview with me,” he said. “Then we contacted the Visiting Nurses Association in town, the food pantry and some of the local school nurses who might be able to identify kids who need some help.”

Next year, Dr. McBride hopes his office can redouble its GKAS effort. “I think we learned some things,” he said. “We want to be able to contact even more organizations in the community to get the word out there. I think at first I was worried that we’d have too big of a response so I didn’t want to totally overdo the advertising. I was worried we’d have to turn so many people away.”