Children's Dental Health Awareness Month!

Every year, in February, we celebrate National Children's Dental Health Awareness Month. We believe it is SO important to educate our patients, families, parents and young children about how they can and why they should care for their teeth. 

We like to celebrate by going to local classrooms and talking directly with the children within our community about why it's so important to take care of their teeth. This year, we are visiting 17 local classrooms and talking to over 350 children! That's a LOT of teeth!

So, why is it so important to take care of your child's teeth?

  • You only get one set of adult teeth ... and they have to last the rest of your life!
  • Decay can cause pain and eventual tooth loss, if not treated.
  • We use our teeth to eat, talk and smile ... EVERY day.

How can you take care of your child's teeth?

  • See a dentist and hygienist for a professional cleaning every 6 months
  • Brush your teeth 2 times a day, for 2 minutes each time
  • Floss once a day
  • Eat healthy foods and drinks
  • Eat sugary, acidic or sticky foods in moderation
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3 - 6 months
  • Regularly check to see if your child is doing a good job brushing and even assist them in brushing once a day (generally until they are 8 - 10 years old, but can vary)
  • Have your dentist or hygienist place sealants on your child's teeth 
  • Use a fluoride rinse at home

All of these things are actions we can take on a frequent, if not daily, basis to ensure that we are properly caring for our teeth. Our teeth are so important to our well-being and they will only last as long as we take care of them. 

Be sure to schedule your child for their preventative dental visit and make sure your child is brushing 2 minutes, 2 times a day and flossing once a day!

For more information on sealants or questions about your child's care, feel free to ask any of our staff or your dentist.

For more information on Children's National Dental Health Month and for downloadable activities, visit these sites: 






Last Thursday we invited our 30 finalists from July through December into our office for a little get-together and to draw the Dream Vacation winner! It was a lovely event and a great chance to get to know our patients better. We drew some door-prizes, offered tours of the new expansion and had some food and drink.

Lastly, we drew a winner for the Dream Vacation Giveaway. And the winner is: Nick Wagner! Nick and his wife, Molly, were here for the event and are thrilled to have won this prize! While they don't yet know where they are going, we have a hunch that their three little boys might have something to say about it!

Dr. Wilk, Nick Wagner, Molly Wagner and Dr. Dowden! Congrats to the Dream Vacation winners!

Dr. Wilk, Nick Wagner, Molly Wagner and Dr. Dowden! Congrats to the Dream Vacation winners!

Congratulations to Nick and Molly! They were entered into the giveaway because they referred their friends and family to our office, which is the greatest compliment any patient can give us. Thank you to Nick and Molly and to all of our patients. We are truly blessed and honored to serve you!


New Year, New You!

Happy New Year!

We're already a full week in, can you believe it? 

We wanted to take this opportunity to remind you of an often overlooked benefit of the new year. In most cases, a new year also means a new benefit year for your insurance. Now, this isn't always the truth, as some dental insurance plans start throughout the year, but most of them begin fresh January first. 

What does that mean to you?

Well, more important than anything else, it means that your maximum benefit is renewed- so you have that money set aside again to start or finish dental treatment that you didn't do last year. This doesn't mean that you won't have a portion due at the time of treatment, because most insurances only pay a percentage of the treatment done, but it does mean that you will have financial help in getting your treatment completed. 

We recommend getting familiar with what your insurance maximum is, if you owe a deductible first and how much they will cover for various dental treatments. Remember that sometimes your preventative work, such as cleanings and exams, doesn't even come out of your maximum benefit. And, at this time of year, we should all be getting our teeth cleaned and checked.

With the start of a new year and renewed benefits, it's a great time to make a plan to take care of yourself, starting with your teeth. You smile with them, eat with them and talk with them. Let's make sure we are taking care of them too. Maximize your insurance by knowing what you have available and let us help you to get the dental treatment you need. 

Have a GREAT 2017 and don't forget to keep on #SharingSmiles!


Christmas Patient Giveaway 2016 - Update!

The anticipation is GROWING! 

We want to thank everyone who shared our posts about the Christmas Patient Giveaway, who talked to their friends and family about it and who applied or nominated someone for this special giveaway. We've read some truly remarkable and moving stories and have had to make some tough decisions.

While the application and nomination process is over, the big reveal is coming soon! We have narrowed it down to THREE finalists and are in the process of getting them scheduled for their comprehensive exam appointments.

If you applied for this and are in need for dental care, but aren't chosen as a finalist, please do not lose heart! The truth is, each and every story we read was one of a deserving and worthy individual. We encourage you to continue to seek out ways to care for your teeth and your overall dental health. Take it one step at a time. The first step is just to schedule one appointment with a dentist. That's it. You can do it!

To help our community members in need, we will be offering another Sharing Smiles Event, where we offer free dental care to the community, on March 25, 2017. Stay tuned for all of the details and please share it and come!

We will be announcing our Christmas Patient Giveaway winner this month yet, so keep checking in on our website or Facebook page to hear the news. Again, many thanks to all of you for participating and sharing this opportunity!

Follow Up on 2015 Christmas Patient Giveaway Winner- Sue Ann!

Sue Ann has a story not unlike many we’ve heard before. When she came to see us last fall for her new patient exam, it had been 6 or 7 years since she had stepped into a dental office. Her anxiety and fear had won out and she was suffering because of it. She was in near-constant pain and her eating was severely limited. What she could eat, often had to be chewed differently and flossing and brushing became painful and problematic for her.

It wasn’t that she didn’t want to take care of her teeth. Her anxiety was built upon years of medical issues and bad experiences in the dental chair at other offices. Her medications affected her teeth and oral health and while she has been cigarette-free for some time now, she was a smoker at one point. Shame and anxiety had delayed her from going to seek treatment and after she lost her dental insurance, the struggle became even greater.

She knew she should take care of her teeth but her two daughter’s lives became priority and the years went on. When she found out that her old friend, LeAnne, had nominated her, she was blown away. She was also still a bit nervous. 

“I didn’t want to be shamed for what my teeth had become. I was worried that they would make me feel so bad for not getting help sooner.”

SueAnn discovered a very different experience when she walked in to Grand Avenue Dental Care. “Everyone I met, from Briana, at the front desk, to Jamie the assistant, to Dr. Wilk, was SO calming and reassuring. Dr. Wilk was very sensitive to the areas of concern in my mouth and they made me feel welcome and cared for.”

By the time she saw Dr. Smestad to have some teeth removed, she was very comfortable and felt like she was a part of the treatment plan. “I knew what was going on. I knew what we were going to do next. They made me feel like a person,” she said.

It’s true that Sue Ann’s smile can now light up a room. Her daughters are amazed at how much this has affected her daily life. “She smiles and laughs so much more! She’s still the same mom, she’s just shows it more,” her daughter said after her smile make over.

One of the things Sue Ann was most looking forward to was eating. While burgers and salads have been very difficult in years past, she couldn’t wait to get over to Culver’s for a celebratory meal with her family. Her biggest takeaway from her experience was not to let fear and anxiety delay you from taking care of yourself. She now knows how her smile affects so many other areas of her life and she is so grateful to LeAnne for nominating her and everyone at Grand Avenue Dental Care for all the help they gave her. “Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!” 

Now that’s, Sharing Smiles. 

Nominate yourself or a friend by clicking here.