Pirates Charities hosted free dental and vision screenings for more than 250 area children at PNC Park on July 24. The Pirates partnered with TeamSmile, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Allegheny Health Network, United Concordia Dental, and local dentist Dr. Joey Troupe on the effort, which took place in the Pittsburgh Baseball Club and World Series Suites between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. that day.
Local dental professionals and volunteers were on hand to provide children with dental treatment, sealants and instruction in a fun environment while promoting the significance of good dental hygiene. The children also had their eyes tested, and those who were in need of glasses received vouchers for a free pair. Attendees also heard from Allegheny Health Network physicians about overall good health practices. The Pirates were proud to partner with all the organizations involved and help provide these services.
The youngsters that were part of the event were from local organizations involved with Tickets for Kids Charities, a non-profit organization whose goal is to offer admission to Pittsburgh-area events to those for whom the cost is prohibitive.
Founded in 2007, TeamSmile is a national non-profit organization whose mission is to create connections between children's service groups, dental professionals and professional sports organizations. The goals are to provide underserved children with a life-changing dental experience and reinforce the value of a commitment to dental health care.
"We were very proud to come to beautiful PNC Park to work with the Pirates and serve children in need in Pittsburgh," TeamSmile Executive Director John McCarthy said. "We had more than 100 volunteers there -- dentists, hygienists and assistants -- and roughly half a million dollars' worth of dental equipment.
"We do much more than screenings. We do X-rays. We do cleanings. We fill cavities. We pull teeth. We do root canals. We do crowns. We build teeth, if needed. We have a machine that does that. It's quite the operation."
Oral disease may unnecessarily impact a child's performance in school as well as their speech development, nutrition, self-esteem and sleep. Good vision is also a key to success, as a child's eyes are constantly in use in the classroom and at play. When his or her vision is not functioning properly, their performance and participation can suffer.
"We work with sports teams all over the country, and last year we served more than 5,000 children with 24 programs. We're on a pretty good pace this year too," McCarthy said. "Since TeamSmile started, we have impacted and given free dental care to more than 25,000 children and provided more than $15 million in free dental work.
"It's a unique and special program that we've put together, and we look forward to continuing the relationship with the Pirates for many years to come."