Do you remember your teenage years? They can be tough sometimes. For Fatima, age 13, they are downright painful. One year ago, Fatima and her family moved here from Portugal. As if adjusting to life in a new country, learning English and helping to care for her younger siblings weren’t enough, Fatima suffers from intense pain. Her teeth are badly infected; many were broken or discolored.
In the coming year, this polite, caring young teen will need a total of 14 fillings and four tooth extractions. The public insurance in her native country didn’t cover dental care, so for most of her life Fatima did without.
“She is in constant pain, and she can’t sleep,” her mother, Maria says, fighting back tears. “Worse, she is being bullied at school.” As a result, Fatima rarely smiles, and she won’t speak up in class. Her teeth are so painful that she eats only soft foods – no crisp apples or crunchy carrots.
But, thanks to generous supporters like you, our new Dental Care Center — to be named in honor of Nancy L. and the late Richard K. Donahue — is restoring hope, along with smiles, not just for Fatima, but for so many patients.
“I was very happy to learn about the Health Center’s new Dental Center,” Maria says. “They are so good. So helpful. It is awful to watch your child suffer and not know what to do.”
Lowell CHC is a trusted place for so many patients, says Sarah Greenlaw-Quinton, DMD, who is Fatima’s dentist. “The fact that a medical interpreter can walk with a patient right from their doctor’s office down the hall to the Dental Center and help them make an appointment means they are far more likely to get the care they need,” she explains. And Fatima is not alone. “We see problems like hers every day, even in very young children,” Dr. Greenlaw-Quinton says.
Fatima’s journey has only just begun. Our dentists are able to alleviate her physical pain, but it will take multiple visits to restore Fatima’s beautiful smile. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we will be with Fatima every step of the way, until her smile is something she isn’t afraid to share with the world.