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Local dentists aim to Give Kids a Smile

Dr. Jerry Johnson (seated) and his Friendly Dental staff, (from left) Deb Nelsen, Jessica Janssen, Jen Linder and Karlie Malmgren, will participate in the "Give Kids A Smile" program on Friday.

WORTHINGTON -- Two Worthington dental offices will be giving back this Friday during the National Give Kids a Smile Day. The program provides free dental services to children who don't otherwise have access to care because they don't have insurance or money to pay for necessary work.

Friendly Dental, 1316 N. McMillan, and Midwest Dental, 507 S. Shore Dr., are both participating in the event, and are completely booked. Just one dental office in far southwest Minnesota is still taking participants -- All About Smiles, 1118 W. Main St., Pipestone -- according to a scheduler with United Way 211, which manages the bookings. To schedule an appointment, clients should call 1-800-543-7709.

Dr. Jerry Johnson with Friendly Dental has participated in the National Give Kids a Smile Day since the program began in Minnesota 11 years ago. Dental hygienist Angela Johnson said participating is a great way to give back to the community.

"We are helping children avoid problems down the road," she said. "If we can put fluoride treatments on teeth and sealants on teeth, we're preventing cavities down the road. We're also helping the overall health of the child."

Between 7:30 a.m. and noon on Friday, Friendly Dental will see children ranging in age from 1 through 16, and perform a variety of services, from fillings to extractions and sealants.

"There are two hygienists here on Friday, and we'll do all kinds of preventatives --fluoride treatments, sealants and screenings," Angela Johnson said. "There is no cost to any children that come in, and there's no filing for insurance. It's all volunteer."

Erica Cleveland, patient service representative at Midwest Dental, said they have eight appointments booked between 8 a.m. and noon on Friday with local children. Their allotted appointments for the event were booked by early January.

"We just like to give back to the community for the families that can't afford dental care for their children," Cleveland said. "We just want to make sure we can help them out and do something for them."

Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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