November 2017 Volume LIII Number 6

 
 
 
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A Message from Your HSHC President

November 2017 Volume LII Number 6

Treat the Kids, Help the Parents

Since retiring from 40-plus years in practice a couple of years ago, it’s no surprise that I miss the kids. It was the kids who made all the difference for me – especially as a card-carrying softie.

But, I miss the parents, too. The par- ents I miss most, though, are not the ones you’d expect. It’s not the good parents. The parents I miss are those who bring in their child only to learn that four-years old is way too late for that first visit.

Now, we all have experienced the laissez faire parent who takes comfort in "just baby teeth" reasoning, but I loved the parents who became oral health evangelists for all of their children, never missing a checkup, after that uncomfort- able visit with their first child.

Soon after I retired, during dinner with a friend at a restaurant near my home, I was reminded of the difference pediatric dentists can make. Our server, maybe 10 years younger than me, recog- nized me as Dr. Ned.

"I’m sure you don’t remember me," she began, "but I just wanted to thank you for everything you did for my kids." I remembered her once she spoke to me. I also remembered her as one of those parents whose children—both having reached adulthood a while back—came in for the first time much later than we’d like.

Besides a quick update on her kids, she made it a point to tell me that her grandchildren go to the dentist regularly.

Yes, it was nice to be remembered. But, it was nicer still to learn that her first visit with her child made a difference for her children and her grandchildren. Two generations.

How many of us have treated multiple generations from the same family? This chance restaurant meeting got me thinking about our grantees and the work they do for the children – and the parents – who come to their clinics. They might not have the means for regular dental care. But, like every parent, they want to do right by their children.

Often, in talking about the work of Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children and our grantees, we describe what it means for the children in our grantees’ care.

But, our grantees do a lot for parents, too. With all of the challenges facing families of the underserved, our grantees take one worry off the minds parents doing everything they can to do for their kids.

Our profession and our people are blessed. Yes, we all have our struggles with our children; challenging their parents is job number one for every child. But, we also have the resources and sup- port system that give us peace of mind.

Your gift to Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children not only helps children. It gives peace of mind to parents and caregivers. Our grantees’ work gives parents and caregivers one less thing to worry about. And, whether it’s as parents or working with parents, one less thing to worry about can make all the difference in the world.

Dr. Ned Savide
HSHC President

AAPD Past President (2005) Dr. Savide, is a retired pediatric dentist residing in suburban Chicago.

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