Approximately 37 West Nodaway students got their teeth examined by a traveling dentist who visited the school on November 4.

The Big Smiles mobile dental program works across 24 states serving infants to high school students. Big Smiles has been available in Missouri for 10 of the program’s 24 years.

Dr. Joe Bellafiore, his assistant Cathy Bellafiore and x-ray technician Lisa Pflugradt visited West Nodaway recently. They are one of three teams stationed in Overland Park, KS. The trio travels to a different school every day helping children get the dental care that they need.

“We hardly have anyone afraid, especially with Dr. Joe. He is absolutely amazing with kids,” Pflugradt said. “He explains everything to the kids and lets them watch beforehand. He puts them at ease.”

The team is equipped to examine and clean teeth, apply a fluoride treatment, extract baby teeth and perform small fillings. They bring dental equipment with them including an x-ray camera, table and cleaning instruments.

“Parents do not have to take off work and students do not have to miss school,” Pflugradt said. “This way they get fillings, sealants, space maintainers and more.”

Insurance companies are billed for those who have it. For those not covered, grant money is available.