It has been 10 years now, but Kansas City Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt refuses to forget his initial inspiration.
"In 2005, in Baltimore, there was a kid in an inner city that had a toothache, was complaining about it and ended up having a bacterial infection," Colquitt explained. "He went down into cardiac arrest and passed away."
A Kansas City dentist by the name of Dr. Bill Busch knew Colquitt's wife, Christia, who at the time was entertaining the idea of attending dental school.
Knowing the power of his potential reach as a member of the Chiefs, Busch called Colquitt.
"There's a kid who ended up passing away," Busch told Colquitt. "He had a toothache. We can't let this happen again. Are you in?"
Members of Chiefs community, led by Dustin Colquitt, join teammates and the United Way to host a TeamSmile event at Arrowhead Stadium.
On Tuesday, 310 underprivileged children from the Kansas City community filled Arrowhead Stadium's Tower Club for the pair's 10th annual "Kansas City Oral Health Care Day."
Joined by linebacker Justin Houston, kicker Cairo Santos and wide receiver Jason Avant, among others, Colquitt, TeamSmile and United Way threw their 10th "dental party" in as many years, providing much needed complimentary dental care to children in need.
"This is a great thing," Avant said. "I wish they would have had this service when I was kid. I'm from the inner city and we didn't have money to go to the dentist that often, so you had to be your own dentist at home.
"These kids having an opportunity is great and I commend whoever is helping Dustin and this is a great event, one of the best I've ever been to."
Avant further explained that it's events like this that create a necessary mindset in the children that it's critical to take care of yourself as you grow older.
"Once someone shows the support for them at this age, they'll want to do it and realize 'OK there is a dentist. There is a place that I can go when my teeth may be aching or hurting.' It's a mindset."
United Way partners with TeamSmile to supply the necessary equipment and machinery to pull off an event of this magnitude.
"Our work really focuses around four core areas of need in the community—poverty, literacy, career-readiness and well being," said Sean Wheeler, the senior vice president of marketing and communications for United Way. "This falls squarely within the well being category of need in the community. It's great to see as many kids come through here and get the dental care they need."
Upon arrival, each child meets with one of 15 dentists who have agreed to shut down their personal offices for the day in order to volunteer at Arrowhead Stadium. While the children are not meeting Chiefs players and cheerleaders, dancing with the DJ or participating in a Play60 course, they are offered treatment than can include anything from a simple cleaning to fillings, extractions or crowns.
"It's not just cleaning, some are cosmetic things," Colquitt added. "We find a lot of kids with lips, they wrap around their teeth when they talk and when they leave, they have the biggest smile in the world. It changes their life."
Taking some time away from his busy day of dentistry at Arrowhead, Busch couldn't help reminiscing about how far the event has come.
"It's amazing," Busch said. "Just thinking back 10 years ago today, we started TeamSmile with Dustin Colquitt, our great, future Hall of Fame punter … I approached him 10 years ago about bringing dentistry to underserved kids in the community and everybody loves a smile and Dustin agreed."
To donate, volunteer or find out more about TeamSmile, visit their website at:http://teamsmile.org/.