As kids, we used to think that tooth fairies are real and they are the reasons why the pain of a toothache gets resolved in the morning. I remembered it all too well, when I have a tooth which is closed to being removed, my Mom would tell me to place it under my pillow because a tooth fairy would visit me while I am asleep to get the extracted tooth in exchange of magical coins and of course, the gift of cure to my swelling gum. Of course, the child in me would believe. Who would not? It was such an enchanting thought to fathom, and even if we deny it or not, we got addicted to fantasy and its related stories as children.

But things somehow favored the side of reality as we grew up. My first visit to the clinic as a child bought many questions to as to why I still need to travel just to get my tooth extracted or oral problem cured. Slowly, my faith about tooth fairies vanished and I came into an understanding that it is just a myth to bring comfort to kids suffering dental health conflicts. I soon realized that the ease I felt the morning after the night that my tooth was removed was due to the pain reliever that I also took, and not because of a glittering legend with shining wings who visited me.

But do you know that somewhere in Barbourville, Kentucky, the epic story of tooth fairies was brought to reality when a modern day hero by the name of Dr. Edwin Smith used his expertise to provide dental care to kids who are in need for free. You read it right, everything for free. Let us get to know his story even more, simply scroll down and keep on reading. Whether you are already an adult, a teenager, or a kid, Dr. Smith’s story is something to acknowledge.


How It All Started

You might think at this point about what was the reason this young dentist had been tagged a modern tooth fairy. Well, Dr. Edwin Smith geniously transformed his 18-wheeler trailer into a mobile dental clinic! As a young dentist focusing on his career path, Dr. Smith had early realizations about the arising need of people, mostly kids, in Appalachia. He had encountered countless patients with extreme tooth decay or other dental health problems. During an interview with CNN, the Kentucky native dentists mentioned that he had seen a lot of kids with mouth full of rotting teeth who are all in pain even in schools. This, of course, creates a big impact on the development of kids in learning. So in 2005, the magic took place when Dr. Edwin Smith created a mobile dental clinic to provide dental care to children in need for free. And as I have stated, he did it by utilizing an old trailer and transforming it into a dental van.


The Works Of Magic

How the story continued is something similar to a work of magic. But by this time, the wonders and enchantment did not root from the magic of a wand but by the power of knowledge and the purity and dedication of someone’s heart to extend help in an unconditional way. Dr. Edwin Smith took $150,000 from his own pocket to flip an 18-wheel truck into a dental clinic on wheels. When asked by CNN about his ideologies and purpose, Dr. Smith answered, “The number one issue is education. When I first started practicing, I would see babies being fed bottles filled with sugary drinks. Also, many people can’t afford to get treatment done, and many of these families don’t have the transportation that they need to access it.” Due to his commitment and his awareness to the lacking resources of Appalachia when it comes to the field of dentistry, Dr. Smith founded a non-profit organization named Kids First Dental Services. This dental program which focuses on schools aims to make dental care accessible to kids, mostly among low-income children.


The Path of Heroism

During the first years of the program established by the so-called modern tooth fairy, Dr. Edwin Smith, they only visited two schools through the dental van that was born from a truck and own wallet of our hero. News rapidly spread and by the following years, requests from different schools around the country made appointments with them. With the experience of working in a handful of schools, Dr. Smith stated in an interview with CNN, “We saw so much need that hadn’t been met. Now, there are schools we go back to each year, and with every year we see more improvement in the oral health of these kids.”

This story about a young dentist who transformed a truck into a mobile dental clinic is something rare but is also a testament that you do not have to be the richest person to start an evolution that would light positive changes.

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