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Giving is a way of life for Maryland dentist

February 12, 2019

By Jennifer Garvin

Photo of Dr. Levy treating a patient
Exam: Dr. Harvey Levy treats a patient during GKAS. Photo courtesy of Dr. Harvey Levy.
Frederick, Md. — It was a snowy and blustery day on Feb. 1, but the waiting room at Dr. Harvey Levy & Associates was warm and welcoming to the 50 children treated here during the practice's annual Give Kids A Smile event. All the children were given prizes, balloon animals and creative paper hats in addition to oral hygiene supplies.

The Frederick, Maryland, practice provided $15,562 worth of dental care that included $2,493 in restorative and endodontic procedures plus $3,388 in oral surgery services. Dentists and dental team members performed oral exams, X-rays, cleanings, fluoride, cancer exams, oral hygiene instructions, composite fillings and extractions. They also scheduled follow-up appointments for treatments that needed additional time.

For many of the children on this day, this visit to Dr. Levy's practice was their first time seeing a dentist.

Photo of a volunteer performing a magic trick
Magic time: Volunteer Perfect Cobian performs a magic trick for waiting GKAS patients.
"What are you going to do to me?" 10-year-old Colton asked hygienist Lindsey Cullop, once the schoolboy was seated in the operatory.

"He's nervous," explained his mother. "And it's his birthday."

Photo of Dr. Patel examining a patient's teeth
Counting: Dr. Niraj D. Patel examines Austin's teeth while hygienist Brandon Graham looks on.
"It's your birthday? Happy birthday," exclaimed Ms. Cullop. "I will explain everything before I do it so there are no surprises. Nothing's going to hurt. I'm just going to count your teeth and then I'm going to clean them."

"How many teeth do I have?" Colton asked.

"That's what we need to find out," Ms. Cullop said. "And we might need to take some special pictures of your teeth called X-rays to see how healthy your teeth are and when I'm done, the doctor will come in and count your teeth too. And when we're all finished, we're going to put some vitamins on your teeth to make them healthy."

Across the hall, Colton's brother, Austin, was having his teeth counted and cleaned by hygienist Brandon Graham.

"How many teeth do I have?" Austin said.

For the record, Colton had 24 teeth, Austin 23. Older brother wins again.

"You're going to have the 24th coming in very soon," Dr. Niraj D. Patel assured Austin.

Emely, 7, was also a first-time patient. Older sister Olga brought Emely in, along with her 6-month-old daughter, Ariel, after learning about the event from the community liaison at Emely's school, Iris Perez. Ms. Perez accompanied the sisters who are originally from El Salvador. Ms. Perez and Jessica Romero, an office coordinator at Dr. Levy's, translated for all of the Spanish-speaking patients.

Photo of Dr. Levy receiving a citation
Recognized: Dr. Levy receives a citation from Congressman David Trone (presented by field rep Regan Riley) recognizing him for his dedication to providing dental care to underserved communities.
The son of two Holocaust survivors who are now in their nineties and living in New York, Dr. Levy credited his parents' resilience — and knowing the years they were denied medical or dental treatment — with inspiring him to give back. In addition to participating annually in GKAS, he also regularly treats special needs patients at Frederick Memorial Hospital and volunteers overseas doing similar work. During the GKAS event, Dr. Levy received a citation from his congressman, Rep. David Trone, D-Md., recognizing him for his dedication to providing dental care to underserved communities.

Dr. Levy has been previously recognized for his work with patients with special needs with these awards: ADA Access to Care, AGD Humanitarian, Maryland State Dental Association Inaugural Humanitarian, Tufts University Alumni Distinguished Service, Maryland Governor's Doctor of the Year and Frederick Memorial Hospital's Good Samaritan.

"If every dentist takes on a few pro bono cases each year, the unmet need would be reduced to insignificance, and no one would tell us what charities to select. The unmet dental need would be reduced to near nothingness," Dr. Levy said.
Photo of Ms. Cullop and a patient
Thumbs up: Hygienist Lindsey Cullop and Colton are all smiles following his first X-rays.