KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It's been said that peace begins with a smile.
Nailah Davis said the pain in her mouth was awful. The 15-year-old had fought it for several months, and it was interfering with her abilities to sleep and eat. She said she dreaded going to a dentist because her family doesn't have dental insurance.
But today, thousands of metro kids like Davis can shine their pearly whites, thanks to TeamSmile, a nonprofit that provides free dentistry care for families in need. TeamSmile has served thousands of children since 2006, with Kansas City Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt as a driving force.
"I live. Not just surviving. I live," a relieved Davis said. "It had really been hurting off the chain."
Davis, who attends Southeast High School, said she was treated for seven cavities and an abscessed molar.
She was one of 17 Southeast students who received complimentary dentistry work in October 2019 at Arrowhead Stadium. One of the stadium's huge private banquet areas was transformed into a giant dentist's office, where hundreds of kids were cleaned, x-rayed and treated at no cost.
That was Davis' first time ever being seen by a dentist.
TeamSmile has been gathering local kids in need of a dentist for 14 years, and Colquitt has been involved nearly the entire time, lending not only his dollars but his time, too. He's regularly seen at TeamSmile events in Kansas City.
TeamSmile leaders said Colquitt has family members who've worked in the dentistry field, and this has been his sincere mission.
"It’s not because these parents don’t care. It’s just a lack of time. These parents work from nine-to-five. Do we feed our children or do we go to the dentist?" said Kellie Reneau, TeamSmile's program manager.
Colquitt, who is the Chiefs' nominee for the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for the second straight year, added to the kindness on Dec. 15.
Davis and her mother, Niquila Nevils, were his guests at the Chiefs' home game against Denver, and Colquitt can be seen in video clips surprising them with tickets to Super Bowl LIV in Miami.
Now knowing they'll be at the Super Bowl, where the Chiefs might appear for the first time in 50 years, adds to the sweetness.
"It's a definite. It's not a might. We're going," Davis, a hardcore Chiefs fan, laughed. "We haven`t won a Super Bowl in a while, and we haven't won a Super Bowl, but I know we've got in the bag."
That big surprise is leading Davis to more than just a football game. It's an opportunity.
The teenager said she's never traveled outside the Kansas City area, and she has Colquitt to thank. So she and her mother are in full support of Colquitt winning the Man of the Year Award.
"From my heart, I believe he deserves it for everything he’s done for us," Reneau said. "He truly cares about what Team Smile is. He believes from the bottom of his heart that he’s there to make a difference in these children’s lives."
"He really cares. He wants to make sure the kids get seen for what they need," Davis said. "He is interactive, unlike most celebrities. He doesn't do it for the cameras, and he doesn't do it for the attention."
Seventeen NFL franchises take part in TeamSmile's program, providing millions of dollars in free dental care. TeamSmile leaders said Colquitt has been instrumental in establishing those relationships across the league.
"His position is: These kids need dental help, dental work. I can help, and that's what I want to do," Nevils said.
Colquitt, who's spent all 15 years of his pro career with the Chiefs, will find out who wins the NFL's Man of the Year Awards on Feb. 1.