By Katelynn White
Brandon Wright, a former basketball player for the Memphis Grizzlies and Houston Rockets, volunteered at a children’s health event to promote good oral health on July 14.
He was “A Dentist for a Day” at the Neighborhood Health Clinic on Charles E Davis Blvd. The clinic is one of 10 Neighborhood Health clinics in Middle Tennessee that provides affordable health and dental services.
“It’s always been a passion of mine,” Wright said. So many people, so many individuals, so many groups, organizations poured into me when I was a young child, and having the opportunities and the people I met along the journey, it’s easy for me to get out there and do the same thing. Whatever I can provide for a young kid or even an adult, you know I’m going to do it the best of my ability,” Wright said when asked why he chose to give back to the community.
He believes dental health is one of the most significant contributors to the human body. “It’s one of the most important things, it starts with your mouth. Years and years of neglecting your dental health can lead to problems down the line,” Wright said.
Wright was joined by Phillip Wenk, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Tennessee, Dr. Michele Blackledge, Director for Oral Health and Dr. Janeen Mo0re, Dentist of Neighborhood Health at Napier Place.
“This is the smallest clinic we have, but the most instrumental,” said Blackledge. She said Tennessee has extreme difficulties regarding dental care. “We see a lot of kids, but unfortunately, Tennessee is a state that is high in teeth loss.”
At the Delta Dental sponsored event, dental screenings for children were given along with school supplies, diapers and food boxes.
Moore has been with Napier Place Neighborhood center for 10 years and has witnessed the best and worst of dental health. She discussed why celebrity day is so beneficial to the community.
‘It’s the exposure. A lot of patients or clients in the community don’t know we have dental services over here. So, it’s more exposure, getting the word out that we’re here.”
Moore also said dental health is crucial to individuals and there are many benefits to children learning about their teeth at a young age. “A lot of parents don’t know the importance of oral health. Kids, a lot of time don’t know how to express that their teeth are hurting. Oral health is important because it’s the foundation, it continues even in adulthood. When you set the basics as a child, they will take better care of their teeth as an adult, and we won’t see what we see now.”
President and Chief Executive Officer of Delta Dental of Tennessee praised Brandon Wright for his good acts to the community. “People like that who’s able to come out here are very important. This is a commitment and not a job for them” said Wenk.
By Katelynn White