Dentist Keeps Local Kids Smiling
By Fred Hamilton
Every Thursday, between seeing patients, Dr. Naved Fatmi and his staff can be found at Florence Fuller Child Development Center where they educate and promote the importance of oral health and offer fluoride treatment to young patients to guard against cavities.
“What they do is very important to us because most of the families are low income families and they do not readily have access to dental care,” said Stephanie Ellis, director of clinical services.
Knowing that oral health problems are the No. 1 cause of missed school days and that good oral health is a key component of overall health, Fatmi wanted to do his part.
“We know that the mouth is the gateway to the body so getting oral health care early is very important for general health,” said Fatmi, who has built his practice on one simple premise: Provide every patient with optimum lifetime dental care.
He realizes that dental insurance is a luxury many underprivileged children don’t have, which prevents them access to care.
That’s why he and his team anticipate doing the dental cleanings and treatment each week.
“They look forward to him coming,” Ellis said. He keeps them engaged and makes the process fun, she said.
“He does so much for the kids and he does a lot for parents too,” she said. “He tells them about the importance of good dental hygiene.”
Dr. Fatmi however is more than a medical provider. He is a community servant as he is a believer that local businesses should in some way participate within the community.
Dr. Fatmi also volunteers at senior residences in Boca Raton and Delray Beach, and has offered his services at the Community Health Center in West Palm Beach.
“Oral disease is a higher contributor to strokes and heart attacks than either cholesterol or triglycerides – and no one is really covering dental care for adults in need,” said the University of Florida dental school graduate, who completed his training at Shands Hospital.
The payment Dr. Fatmi and his team receive for volunteering is even more than they deserve, the volunteers say.
“It is great to be taking the opportunity share basic health information,” he said. “It is so much fun to interact with people and tell them things to do that are so simple, but to them are new.”
In the end, he said, it boils down to remembering the basic social mandate found in every faith.
“Those of us who can, I believe, have a responsibility to help those who can’t,” he said.