On Friday, Feb. 1, more than 150 volunteers provided more than $20,000 of free oral health care services to more than 120 local children as a part of the school’s sixth annual Give Kids A Smile® event. The UNC-CH School of Dentistry served as the American Dental Association Foundation’s kickoff site for Give Kids A Smile
A goal of the student organizers for this year’s event was to expand the treatments offered to children. With the help of volunteer students, residents, faculty and staff, they were able to offer dental screenings, dental exams, x-rays, fluoride treatment, sealants, fillings, crowns and extractions to all patients.
“It was really great to see a vision come to life in terms of expanded care,” said Davis. “It was a very transformative day and unlike something we’ve ever done before.”
At the event, children and their families experienced an interactive health fair with representatives from the UNC-CH School of Medicine, School of Nursing, Eshelman School of Pharmacy, Gillings School of Global Public Health, and UNC-CH Athletics. Along the way, children filled out a passport after visiting each table and earned a sticker to see the Tooth Fairy.
“The school’s Give Kids A Smile event is always one of the highlights of my year as dean, and this was no exception,” said Dean Scott S. De Rossi, DMD, MBA. “I am incredibly proud of our students and other volunteers who made it possible for our school to provide more than $20,000 of no-cost oral health care to local children. Their commitment to passionate service of our people and our community make this event a success every year, and I want to thank them for all their efforts.”
Colgate’s “Tooth Defender” Dr. Rabbit and the Bright Smiles Bright Futures mobile dental van also made an appearance. Onboard the Bright Smiles Bright Futures van, children received dental screenings and learned how to brush their teeth with Colgate volunteers.
“Multiple schools within the University framework reached out and collaborated with the School of Dentistry to make this the best event it could be,” said William R. Calnon, DDS, president of the ADA Foundation. “This led to an unbelievably successful program. It’s a shining example of how oral health impacts general health, and how a truly interdisciplinary program supports the best outcomes for the kids.”
Through the ADA Foundation’s Give Kids A Smile program, launched nationally by the American Dental Association in 2003, more than 5.5 million underserved children have received free oral health services. These free services are provided by approximately 10,000 volunteer dentists annually, along with 30,000 other dental team members. The School of Dentistry’s event was generously sponsored by Henry Schein, Colgate and KaVo Kerr.