LITTLE SILVER, NJ - The importance of good dental health is becoming more and more accepted in society as a medical necessity versus the luxury of having sparkling white teeth. Medical research links poor dental hygiene to such health issues as cardiovascular disease, stroke, pneumonia, diabetes and low birth weight. Yet some people cannot afford dental services and many lack the financial assistance of dental benefits, so they go without the services of a dentist.
Dr. Benjamin Klayman began his practice of Red Bank Smiles dental office at 180 River Road in Red Bank about two and a half years ago. He and his team of hygienists, Diane Davis, Heidi Whelan and Joanna Kondek, are very community-minded. The team has operated various programs out of the dental office including food collections and sending care packages to the Troops over the holidays. However, from his days as a dental resident at Monmouth Medical Center, Dr. Klayman suspected that a great need in the community existed for the tools of his trade—dental care, which could provide a unique and impactful service to his own community. The question was how best to go about providing such a dental clinic.
Diane Davis, who serves as a member of the Red Bank Regional (RBR) Board of Education, then introduced Dr. Klayman to Suzanne Keller, the Director of The SOURCE, RBR’s School-Based Youth Services program. Diane knew that the mission of the SOUCE was to remove all barriers that could impede their students’ academic success. Sometimes this includes finding medical and dental services for students whose families cannot afford them.
Suzanne Keller was only too happy to accept Red Bank Smile’s offer of service commenting, “There is a constant need to find medical professionals able to provide services to our students and their families who can least afford them. So when Diane Davis approached me with this offer, we were only too appreciative.”
Dr. Klayman was very happy to offer his office’s services to underserved teenagers in the community as he explains,” As a teenager, you may not realize that what you do now will have long term effects that can impact you the rest of your life.”
For one day in February, Red Bank Smiles opened its doors to the students and their families of The RBR SOURCE.
Diane Davis comments, “We treated over 30 patients including the RBR teenagers, their parents and younger siblings. We taught them how to brush properly and floss and gave them supplies to take home to continue their own oral care. It was an eye-opener for us to see just how great the need was.”
Hygienist Heidi Whalen added, “The kids were very nervous. For some, it was their first encounter with a dentist. Some of the girls had tears in their eyes, but it went very well.”
Red Bank Smiles hopes to make the RBR SOURCE Clinic an annual event, to maintain the dental health of the families they treated.
Dr. Klayman commented, “We are in the business of helping people. That is why I went into this profession and that is what we do here at Red Bank Smiles.”