February is National Children’s Dental Health Month – and dentists from across the country took part in a one day program to make sure underprivileged kids have healthy smiles.
The Give Kids a Smile program, now in its seventh year reaches kids ages 3-12 nationwide from New Jersey to New Mexico to Alaska. Overall more than 12,000 dentists and 30,000 volunteers joined the effort this year to treat almost a half million children.
In Wisconsin this year, more than 350 dentists will volunteer, seeing 5,500 uninsured kids statewide this month. In Central Illinois, twenty-eight dentists provided services from teeth cleanings to extractions and stainless steel crowns for free — an estimated value of $46,000 worth of donated work.
In North Carolina, two dozen area dentists work alongside about 100 support staff, as well as clowns and balloon animals to treat 150 kids during the eight-hour clinic. One parent, who is retired from the military and doesn’t have dental insurance said, “Financially, it was just tremendous.”
Children were bused in from schools around Kansas City to the free dental clinic last week at the University of Missouri. The kids were identified through routine health screenings at school. Nearly all the work done on the children was performed by dental hygiene students
Give Kids A Smile is an annual centerpiece to National Children’s Dental Health Month and is observed every year on the first Friday in February.
(Compiled with quotes from KMBC, WEAU and Reflector.com)