Arslan’s Tooth Fairy

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Arslan (center) works with friends Kevin (left) and Eric (right) in the Cardinals classroom.

Originally from Kazakhstan, five-year old Arslan and his family moved to the United States in 2015 after his father was granted a student visa. The family settled in Fairfax. In November – three months after enrolling in Main Street’s VPI+ Pre-K classroom – Arslan received an on-site dental screening, a service provided to all of our students through a partnership with the Fairfax County Health Department.1In September 2015, Main Street opened additional Pre-K classroom for 18 children, fully-funded through a 4-year Federal Preschool Expansion Grant awarded to the Commonwealth of Virginia. Main Street’s “Virginia Preschool Initiative Plus (VPI+)” class is a pilot program that provides free childcare services to low-income parents.

The screening determined that Arslan needed extensive dental work. Yet with limited income and no insurance, the family could hardly afford to pay a medical bill.

Throughout the winter, Main Street’s VPI+ Family Services Coordinator regularly communicated with Arslan’s parents about his dental problems. Arslan’s teeth began to bother him at home, and affect his sleep patterns more and more. We worried that the pain may soon affect his learning experience at Main Street as well. By the end of February, his mother and our staff were seeking affordable treatment options.

DentistryforChildren with Staff and Arslan

During our Donor & Volunteer Appreciation Night, D4C’s Candy Shirai (center) posed with Arslan and Main Street staff members!

Following an exhaustive search, Dentistry for Children (D4C) of Northern Virginia, a pediatric dental office in Fairfax, informed our staff that they would perform over $5,000 in “full mouth dental rehabilitation” for Arslan, at no cost to his family.2This was not Main Street’s first interaction with D4C, who donated clothes to our families this past holiday season. Their marketing manager, Candy Shirai, had visited Main Street shortly after their Fairfax-based office opened on Braddock Road last fall. Before meeting even one of our children, D4C had decided to get involved with Main Street. Candy had done her research.

The surgery was a success. Arslan rested that day and returned to school the next. However, he had a fever. Later in the day, his fever spiked. At home, he suffered a febrile seizure. He was rushed to the hospital where his family learned he’d developed an infection in one of his teeth , which is not uncommon as a result of dental surgery. He was kept overnight, and received antibiotics. The following Monday, he returned to D4C to have the infected tooth removed.

After a week’s recovery, we welcomed Arslan back to Main Street, where he continues to thrive. When asked about his adventure at the dentist’s office, he smiles, opens his mouth wide, and proudly shows off his healthy teeth.

References   [ + ]

1. In September 2015, Main Street opened additional Pre-K classroom for 18 children, fully-funded through a 4-year Federal Preschool Expansion Grant awarded to the Commonwealth of Virginia. Main Street’s “Virginia Preschool Initiative Plus (VPI+)” class is a pilot program that provides free childcare services to low-income parents.
2. This was not Main Street’s first interaction with D4C, who donated clothes to our families this past holiday season. Their marketing manager, Candy Shirai, had visited Main Street shortly after their Fairfax-based office opened on Braddock Road last fall. Before meeting even one of our children, D4C had decided to get involved with Main Street. Candy had done her research.