The Dental Team at Red Bank Smiles — pictured left to right, Diane Davis, RDH; Heidi Whelan, RDH; Dr. Benjamin B. Klayman and Joanna Kondek, RDA — recently offered a free dental clinic to the students of the RBR SOURCE Program and their families.

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School 

The importance of good dental health is becoming more and more accepted in society as a medical necessity, versus the luxury of having sparkling white teeth. Medical research links poor dental hygiene to such health issues as cardiovascular disease, stroke, pneumonia, diabetes and low birth weight — and yet some people either cannot afford dental services and lack access to dental benefits, so they go without the services of a dentist.

For one day this past February, the team of professionals at a borough-based family dentistry practice opened its doors to the students of The SOURCE, the School-Based Youth Services program at Red Bank Regional High School, as well as to their families.

Dr. Benjamin Klayman opened his Red Bank Smiles dental office at 180 River Road about two and a half years ago — a period during he and his team of hygienists (Diane Davis, Heidi Whelan and Joanna Kondek) used their office as a base of operations for such community-minded initiatives as food collections and sending care packages to the Troops over the holidays. However, from his days as a dental resident at Monmouth Medical Center, Dr. Klayman became aware that a great need existed in the community for dental care.  The question was how best to go about connecting those most in need of basic dental care with the services of a dental clinic.

Diane Davis, who serves as a member of the Red Bank Regional Board of Education, introduced Dr. Klayman to The SOURCE director Suzanne Keller. Diane’s familiarity with the mission of The SOURCE — to remove all barriers that could impede students’ academic success — led her to propose that this mission could include finding medical and dental services for students whose families cannot afford them.

Director Keller was only too happy to accept Red Bank Smiles’ offer — and Dr. Klayman was very happy to offer his office’s services to underserved teenagers in the community, explaining that “As a teenager, you may not realize that what you do now will have long term effects that can impact you the rest of your life.”

“We treated over 30 patients, including the RBR teenagers, their parents and younger siblings,” reports Diane Davis. “We taught them how to brush properly and floss and gave them supplies to take home to continue their own oral care. It was an eye-opener for us to see just how great the need was.”

“The kids were very nervous. For some, it was their first encounter with a dentist,” adds hygienist Heidi Whalen. “Some of the girls had tears in their eyes, but it went very well.”

“We are in the business of helping people,” comments Dr. Klayman, who hopes to make the RBR SOURCE Clinic an annual event. “That is why I went into this profession, and that is what we do here at Red Bank Smiles.”