Children thrive when planted in homes and communities where they’re loved, cared for, and watched after. When a child in need is noticed by an adult on patrol and loved deeply by a devoted and diligent mom, the results usually mean the child and the community wins.
Heath Hood, the resource officer at Mary Blount Elementary School in Maryville, Tennessee noticed a particular little girl, Suzy**, needed dental care. He first approached Dr. Clabough and members of the dental team and told them about Suzy’s situation and then offered to personally go to Suzy’s home and obtain parental consent for treatment.
Fortunately, Suzy’s mother was reached by Dr. Clabough’s staff and was able to provide more details about her daughter’s condition. Suzy had been suffering tooth pain for several months, and visits to the health department proved frustrating. Initially told she would be referred to a pediatric dental specialist, Suzy’s mom spent two months placing calls which went nowhere — her daughter was still untreated and placed on the health department’s already long list of children in need.
Dr. Clabough’s team needed three hours to transform two months of waiting into freedom for Suzy. Three hours was all it took to take a child from pain to no pain. She left the mobile dental unit smiling and excited, talkative and ready to launch back into her classroom studies where, as a third grader, she already reads on a fifth grade level.
Once the initial work was done, Suzy returned for two days of follow-up treatments. Chrome crowns covered cleaned-out abscessed teeth, fillings replaced cavities, and four pulpotomies (similar to a root canal on an adult tooth) were performed. A child who was in pain was in many ways revived, able to play and laugh, study and share.
Suzy’s mother, showing her appreciation for what the dental team and resource officer did for her daughter, wrote a touching thank you note.
We’re thankful for Officer Hood’s attention and care for all the children under his watch at Mary Blount. We’re grateful to have a dental team responsive to children who have extensive dental problems and are able to provide top-tier care and treatment from our mobile unit. And lastly, we are supportive of a loving mom who was determined to get her child off a list and into a dentist’s chair.
We can’t do what we do unless we are part of an extended family of care, concern, and love for the children in our communities.
Thank you Officer Hood. Thank you Dr. Clabough and team. And, thank you, Suzy’s mother. You are her greatest asset. And she is your greatest love.
**not her real name.