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Bethlehem Brothers Among 29 Children Receiving Care at ‘Give Kids a Smile Day’


They came from New York City to Bethlehem in search of a better life.

On February 25, Farooq and Kiran Tirmizi and their two sons made a shorter journey. They traveled from their Bethlehem home to Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Muhlenberg’s Dental Clinic.

For 4-year-old Faizan, it was his first-ever trip to the dentist. For his big brother, 8-year-old Aayan, it was time for an exam, X-rays, a teeth cleaning and an orthodontic consult.

Yet this was no ordinary day. It was “Give Kids a Smile” day, when pediatric dentists, dental residents, hygienists and oral surgeons from Lehigh Valley Health Network’s department of dental medicine donate their time to provide free and reduced-cost care for kids.

In all, 29 children from the Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton school districts took part in the event, which i held inobservance of the American Dental Association’s national“Give Kids a Smile Day” program.

A serious health concern

“Tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease,” says Pat Atno, practice director for LVHN’s Dental Clinics at both LVH–Muhlenberg in Bethlehem and LVH–17th Street in Allentown. “In children from low-income families, tooth decay often goes untreated.”

LVHN has participated in “Give Kids a Smile Day” since 2004, providing free and reduced-cost care for nearly 600 children.

While everyone enjoyed their dental visits, Faizan may have enjoyed his the most. He gave a “thumbs up” to dentist Melanie Hunt, DMD, and flashed a big smile once his first-ever dental exam was complete. His older brother got “tooth vitamins” (Hunt’s term for fluoride) to help keep his teeth healthy and also flashed a wide grin.

There were smiles all around.