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Fun and Floss: Pediatric dentists bring new light to care

The AAPD uses the logic that if you take your child to a pediatrician than why not to a pediatric dentist since that is their specialty.

Parents and dentists, pediatric or not, all agree regular brushing, flossing, and visits to the dentist are the key to good oral health. Having the comforts of home just makes it all a little bit easier.

SIDEBAR: Reasons to smile

Local dentists donate their services and more to those in need

By ANN MARIE FRENCH, Spotlight Staff

No doubt you have seen celebrities like Roma Downey and Jessica Simpson speaking in support of the international volunteer organization Operation Smile, a program that provides free dental surgery around the world to children with facial deformities. You may not realize that a number of local dentists offer their time, expertise and resources to help out children and families closer to home.

"As a profession, they donate a lot of care," said Sandy DiNoto, director of public relations for the New York State Dental Association. A constituent of the American Dental Association, the NYS Dental Association boasts about 14,000 members.

Research completed by the ADA found that "dentists in private practice provided an estimated $1.7 billion in donated dental treatment."

"I feel very strongly about giving back," said dentist Virginia Plaisted of Bethlehem Dental Arts. "We've been given a gift."

Plaisted, who has been working as a dentist in the area for the past 20 years, said her volunteer work began in the early '90s when she provided education to the residents of St. Peter's Hospital. More recently Plaisted has been offering her services to area people who really need the dental care but might not have the means to obtain it.

"It has to be done," said Plaisted of the work. "I said I'm going to do it. I enjoy doing this."

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