Family dental practice helps the underserved in Little Haiti

A family-owned dental practice serving Little Haiti is doing its part to stare down the pandemic and help keep the community safe.

Phanord & Associates – helmed by Roger Phanord and his twin sons, Kevin and Kyle – have placed hand-sanitizing machines throughout their Little Haiti and North Miami offices, check everyone’s temperature throughout the day, and wear N95 masks and face shields. Rooms are fogged with a sanitizing agent after patients are seen and an infrared ventilating system is also in use.

But with so many people still remaining as isolated as possible – and the number of patients that can be seen in their offices severely curtailed by COVID-19 health and safety precautions – the Phanords are turning to social media platforms and also creating a YouTube channel to continue to deliver care, for example, through tips and videos on proper daily teeth brushing techniques.

“We have an Instagram page, so we’re doing a lot of our daily brushing tips there,” said Kyle, who like his brother graduated in May from the School of Advanced Dental Sciences at the University of Florida. “Even in an underserved community, they have access to the social media page.”

October is National Dental Hygiene Month, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black Americans have among the poorest oral health of any racial or ethnic group in the United States. The elder Phanord was born in Haiti and immigrated to New York at the age of 8. He fell in love with dentistry after getting a tooth extracted.

“I thought it was the greatest thing to be out of pain,” he said. “That always stuck with me and [was a reason why] I always gravitated toward science.”

As he got older, Phanord began to shadow dentists, and he eventually followed that fascination into dental school.

Now, he says, “I want to give back to the community, one smile at a time.”

Phanord opened his first office in North Miami at 1245 NW 119th St. in June of 1988, a year after he graduated from UF’s dental school. Two years later he opened a second office at 5337 NE 2nd Ave. Kevin and Kyle work at both, as well as at Caring Dental, another practice located in Little Havana.

“We definitely take pride in being able to make quality dentistry affordable to our community,” said Kevin.

Growing up, he and Kyle spent a lot of time with their father as he worked. Inspired by his ambition to serve the Black community and other neglected areas, they’ve followed in his footsteps. They’re even trying to brush up on their language skills to more effectively deliver care.

“[He] knows Creole, English and French,” said Kyle of their father. “My brother and I understand Spanish because of our Colombian mom, but I am trying to learn more Creole.”

And with the onset of the pandemic, the family has become even more committed to serving those in need, especially in low-income areas or areas that lack dental resources.

“Dental insurance is not a deterrent for good oral health,” said Phanord. “A large portion of our patients have Medicaid.”

The practice serves different age groups and extols the importance of youth understanding the value of good dental hygiene. The Phanords have in the past visited local schools to speak to students directly about it.

“We catch them when they’re young, and we stress to them about coming to the dentist every six months,” Phanord said. “We encourage parents not to let their babies sleep with a bottle, so they don’t develop baby bottle syndrome.”

“We’re basically doing preventative dentistry,” said Kevin. “We start young and educate them about the importance of oral health.”

To do that, they plan to start posting more videos online.

“We will have videos up online soon,” said Kyle. “We want to show the community that we can serve them.”

Story provided by the Miami Times

Racquel Lewis is a Miami native who enjoys botany, comedy, theatre, and culinary arts. She is currently an assistant editor at Caplin News while also attending Florida International University as a Broadcast Media major. Her goals are to have her own show and to get an Emmy.