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More than 100 elementary students have a big reason to smile. Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton teamed up with Delray Beach's Spodak Dental Group to provide free care to the children Friday.
The care wasn't just a cleaning. The dental office shut down and dentists performed extractions and other procedures totally free. Dr. Craig Spodak believes the office did more than $150,000 worth of dental work throughout the day.
"The number 1 reason a child would go to the emergency room, the number 1 reason a child will miss school is because of a dental pain, or dental disease, so it's an epidemic," Spodak said.
Many of the children had never been to the dentist before. So Stanton and fellow Marlin AJ Ramos wanted to make the visit comfortable and fun.
"We'll do anything to make it special for them and make them want to come back and not fear that terrible time at the dentist," Stanton said.
The towering MLB player consoled children and handed out stuffed animals during the event.
Stanton wants children to develop healthy habits which will carry over as adults. So he partnered with Spodak to create the All Star Smile Foundation.
Today's event is one of many the foundation hopes to organize in South Florida and across the country. Spodak is working with his network of dentists to get other offices across the United States on board.
His ultimate goal is to eradicate tooth decay in children.
Staton admitted he had dental issues as a child, so he wants to help prevent other children from experiencing the same thing.
After a pitch hit him in the face during the 2014 baseball season, Stanton met Spodak for surgery. The two clicked and formed the foundation.
Stanton personally paid for most of the dental work Friday. But the foundation is securing it's 501(c)(3) non-profit status and is collecting donations to expand the program. For more information, click here.
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