PHOENIX - The Parsons Center for Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics in Phoenix is the first nonprofit pediatric specialty center in Maricopa County, providing dental care to children, regardless of legal or financial status.
"Dentistry is expensive, especially when it comes to children, that was something I wanted to change," said Clinical Director Neeta Arya.
Cleanings, fillings, braces, you name it and Arya's team does it all inside the Murphy School District's building on Buckeye Road near 31st Avenue.
"The Murphy School District is one of the most impoverished school districts in the state," Arya said. "In this area, the number one reason children miss school is because of dental pain and so it's a big problem, kids aren't able to go to school, they're not able to focus. You know how much a toothache hurts."
Students in poorer communities suffer twice the tooth decay and pain than their peers and are half as likely to go to the dentist, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
"Some of these children have extensive dental needs. In order to treat them, they need to go through sedation or they need to be anesthetized. We're able to provide those services here also," she said.
No insurance, no problem. The nonprofit provides services at a third of the cost and sometimes there's no bill at all.
"We will not let the child go in pain. That we will not do. And we will make sure we can do everything that we can to make sure that the children are able to receive our care," Arya said. "It's actually brought many of our parents to tears."
Every dollar made here, whether it's from insurance coverage or out-of-pocket, goes to helping the next child who takes a seat in the dentist's chair. So every time you get a smile, you give a smile too.
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