Sarrell to provide nonprofit carePublished 11:45pm Saturday, June 25, 2011
By Alison McFerrin
The Selma Times-Journal
Sarrell Dental Center is about to give Selma something to chew on — free dental services for kids with Medicaid or All Kids.
“There’s such a need for what we do in Alabama,” Sarrell chief marketing officer Brandi Parris said. “Most people don’t realize how good oral hygiene affects overall health of your body.”
Sarrell Dental Center is a nonprofit that has been operating in Alabama since 2005. Selma will be one of 13 locations when it opens July 11.
“We have grown extremely fast in such a short time,” Parris said.
Parris said Selma became a possibility after community members contacted the organization requesting them to come do dental screenings.
“We always look to see if there is a need,” Parris said. Parris said Selma does not have any other dental offices that provide nonprofit dental care to children.
Although some Sarrell Dental Care Centers also provide optical services, Parris said the Selma location will be a little more limited — at least at first.
“Right now we’re not looking to go into Selma with optical — usually we open dental first, and if we see there’s a need for optical, we add it in,” Parris said.
Oral surgery may also be a future service. “We do have an oral surgeon that comes in once a month to a lot of our other locations,” Parris said. An oral surgeon may also be brought to Selma periodically, if needed, Parris said.
Parris said Sarrell Dental is seeing results in other cities where it is operating, with fewer children coming in with cavities and other dental problems. She attributes this, at least in part, to their education programs.
“We really want to educate them so they know the importance of dental care,” Parris said. “The first thing people see about you is your smile.”
Sarrell Dental conducts free screenings and dental education at schools and Head Starts, Parris said, as well as trying to educate adults.
“Parents don’t know or don’t think to take kids to the dentist for preventative care,” Parris said.