Helena dentist sinks teeth into charity work

Published 4:33 pm Friday, March 6, 2009

For some of the children that visit Cahaba Dental Arts on March 25, it’ll be their first time at the dentist’s office. Dr. Jayme Mashayekh is hoping she’ll be able to make them smile.

March 25 will double as Give Kids a Smile Day, where Mashayekh plans to provide free cleanings and dental check-ups for as many as 25 to 30 needy children.

“We’re trying to get our patients in need that are underserved in here,” she said.

Give Kids a Smile Day is an American Dental Association program in which dental offices choose a day in February or March to provide charity dental work for local children.

Counselors at local schools, including Helena Elementary, Creek View Elementary, Meadow View Elementary, South Shades Crest Elementary and the Linda Nolen Learning Center, are recommending underprivileged children to visit March 25. Cahaba Dental Arts has also been in touch with local churches. So far, eight children have signed up for appointments on Give Kids a Smile Day, Mashayekh said.

“We’re going to teach them about hygiene. That way they can be responsible on a day-to-day basis,” she said. “A lot of them have never been to the dentist before, so it’s just about exposure.”

Mashayekh said if anyone wants their child to be considered for an appointment on Give Kids a Smile Day, they should contact the school guidance counselor.

Creek View Elementary counselor April Tolbert, who plans to recommend children for Give Kids a Smile Day, said the event is a great opportunity for needy children to get dental attention, which, in turn, could be an educational help.

“If a child is miserable at school with a toothache or some kind of dental problem, that’s going to distract them from learning,” she said “I think it’s just a wonderful opportunity for children and families in need of this service.”

Mashayekh, whose office has been open since November, said she wants to get involved in the community every way she can. She played the Tooth Fairy in the Helena Christmas Parade and plans to participate in the Buck Creek Festival. She’s also keeping an eye out for other charitable endeavors.

“This is our starting project. We’ll see how this goes and see where the need is, and we’ll go from there,” she said.

She plans to continue hosting Give Kids a Smile Day yearly, and said she believes she’s doing Helena a great service.

“Medical care is expensive, yet it’s one of those things that’s especially important for children,” she said. “I think it’s about teaching the underserved, educating them on the importance of dental health. People are able to come to our office and know we’re here.”