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Smiles for miles

The best rewards for Dr. Brooke Hamann are the smiles she sees at the end of a dental visit. That was never more apparent than with one little boy who came to her Perham office during the "Give Kids a Smile" free clinic a year or two ago. He had ...

Hamann
Dr. Brooke Hamann, who operates Hamann Family Dentistry with her father, Dr. Mike Hamann, works with a young patient at her dental office. She and the staff, who donate their time, has participated in the Give Kids A Smile program for the past eight years. Submitted photo

The best rewards for Dr. Brooke Hamann are the smiles she sees at the end of a dental visit.

That was never more apparent than with one little boy who came to her Perham office during the “Give Kids a Smile” free clinic a year or two ago.

He had been missing school because of a tooth ache, she said. Further complicating matters, his family, with no money to bring their son to a dentist, had been trying to help him with their own remedies. With little English, they managed to convey that the boy had a tooth ache.

Hamann removed the tooth, solving the boy’s pain problem and the spread of an infection.

“He had the biggest smile when it was all done,” Hamann said.

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That’s just one of many stories Hamann could tell as a result of the annual free dental program “Give Kids a Smile,” offered this year on Friday, Feb. 5, at Hamann Family Dentistry, a practice she operates with her father, Dr. Mike Hamann. Their office has participated in the program for the past eight years.

“It’s a great opportunity. Kids come in a little scared, maybe in pain,” she said, “and when they leave with a big smile, tooth in one hand, toy in the other, it’s just warm and fuzzy.”

The Give Kids a Smile program is for low-income families who face financial barriers for dental care for their children, ages 3 to 18. It is coordinated by the Minnesota Dental Association on the first Friday and Saturday of February to help these children.

Hamann’s office is the only private clinic Otter Tail County that participates in the program, she said.

The entire staff volunteers their time for the morning, Hamann said. “It’s pretty awesome.”

“It’s a fun event for us; we get our coffee and have breakfast and we are ready to go,” she said. “We love it, even when the schedule is jammed packed and we are running from room to room. The kids are happy and excited to be here.”

Services will vary, but Hamann Family Dentistry will do preventive care, which includes cleanings, sealants and fluoride treatments, and as necessary they will do fillings and extractions, Hamann said.

Dentistry has changed a lot over the years, she said. Having children, in particular go away with a great experience means they won’t be afraid to get regular dental care when they grow up.

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In the long run, being comfortable with dental visits improves overall health, gives people a smile they can be proud of and establishes good lifelong dental habits, she said.

To set up an appointment for a dental visit on Feb. 5, parents may call 346-4775 in advance.

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