September 11, 2010 in Washington Voices

Smiles all around

Grins & Giggles dentistry fits mission set forth by Spokane Valley Partners
By The Spokesman-Review
 
Christopher Anderson photo

Dr. Mostafa Kabbani works with patient Marcus Lawson at his new Grins & Giggles Family Dentistry clinic at Spokane Valley Partners on Sept. 2.
(Full-size photo)

More information

Grins and Giggles Family Dentistry, 10418 E. Broadway Ave., is open Monday through Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 3 to 6 p.m. through the end of September. Starting Oct. 15, the office will open Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and also will offer evening appointments. For an appointment, call (509) 928-4746.

The former Women Infants and Children Clinic in the lower level of Spokane Valley Partners, 10814 E. Broadway Ave., has been vacant for a while. After a lengthy search for a new tenant, Ken Briggs, CEO of the organization, finally found someone to help low-income Valley residents.

“We can’t put just anybody in this building,” Briggs said. As a nonprofit organization, Briggs said he was looking for some sort of medical practice to serve his clients at Valley Partners.

The walls now have a fresh coat of paint, there is a collection of toys including an Xbox in the lobby and there is brand new dentistry equipment in the exam rooms.

Grins & Giggles Family Dentistry opened its doors Sept. 1, offering its services to low-income families and children in the evenings and on Saturday afternoons. Starting Oct. 15 the office will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will still offer evening appointments at Valley Partners.

Dr. Mostafa Kabbani took over the space, hoping to help people in need of dental care.

“He’s a real community-minded guy,” Briggs said. “It all wraps into our mission.”

Kabbani, 30, said he became interested in community dentistry when he first moved to Arizona from Syria after earning his degree in dentistry from Cairo University in Egypt. He and his wife, Nora, were expecting their first child, Laith, now 5, and they didn’t have health insurance as he didn’t have a job yet – his green card was still pending.

He went to the hospital to negotiate a payment plan for the bills that were sure to come, but the hospital told him about a program that would pay the medical bills and also set the small family up with a car seat and some food.

“That was a big thing, a huge thing,” Kabbani said.

A little while later, Kabbani was working as a dental assistant in a large office and one of his crowns fell out. He didn’t have dental insurance, and he went to one of the dentists for help. The dentist told him the crown could be repaired for $1,200, or he could just have the tooth pulled for much cheaper. He had the tooth pulled.

“Pretty much that’s why I’m here,” Kabbani said.

At Grins & Giggles, Kabbani accepts DSHS coupons and children, which DSHS will reimburse him for, and will offer a 50 percent discount for patients paying in cash. He also said that he is willing to work out a payment schedule for those who don’t have the money on hand.

He doesn’t want to turn anyone away for their inability to pay.

“Dental is a luxury (for low-income families)” Briggs said. “You don’t think about it until there is a problem.”

Kabbani has been working at Cool Smiles in Spokane, and noticed there was no place for low-income patients in Spokane Valley. Anyone in need would have to travel into Spokane to get help. He’ll stay at Cool Smiles until the end of the month, but take evening appointments in the Valley office. He also works for the CHAS clinic, pulling teeth on Mondays. He’ll continue to work there after the clinic at Grins & Giggles opens full time.

Until then, he is busy setting up the practice at Grins and Giggles and is also expecting a new daughter with his wife.

“I’m not expecting to make a fortune,” Kabbani said, “but I will be happy.”

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