Dental clinic offering free service to kids

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Free dental clinic in Durham (WTVD)

"When I eat ice cream or something cold like that, it hurts," 9-year-old Keller Valladares-Zuniga, of Durham, told ABC11 Friday while getting a free dental checkup.

He was one of 50 children receiving free dental care through the Durham Public Health's "Give Kids a Smile" dental clinic.

"You would be surprised at how eager they are to come," said Durham Public Health Director of Dental Practices Dr. Miriam McIntosh. "Because they aren't able to chew. They aren't able to eat."

That's the case for 11-year-old Jhon Ruiz. Like all of the kids at the clinic Friday, the Durham resident doesn't have dental insurance. He had a tooth pulled.

"I will be able to eat all the food I want because it won't hurt," Ruiz said.

Valladares-Zuniga, who got sealants to prevent more cavities, said he was also looking forward to eating his favorite foods without pain, specifically ice cream. But he also learned an important lesson about maintaining healthy teeth.

"I'm going to be eating fruits and vegetables," Valladares-Zuniga said.

He had a message for the dentists and hygienists giving him a reason to smile.

"Thank you for fixing my teeth so I don't have no more problems," he said.

The next clinic is in August. Anyone interested in taking part will need to pre-enroll.

There is usually a 4-month wait to enroll a child.

For more info call the Durham County Department of Public Health's Children's Dental Clinic at (919)560-7680.

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