GIVE KIDS A SMILE ANNOUNCES PATIENT OPENINGS FOR NEXT FREE DENTAL CLINIC
Routine, professional oral health care isn’t top priority for many area families struggling to make ends meet. As a result, some local children have never been to the dentist and have mouths with untreated cavities, decay and infection. The Give Kids A Smile (GKAS) program is working to address this critical issue by hosting a free, comprehensive dental clinic at the Saint Louis University Center for Advanced Dental Education on March 1 and 2. GKAS is encouraging teachers and counselors in area schools, churches and organizations to help identify those children they know are in need of care. Any child who is Medicaid-eligible, qualifies for a school lunch program or needs assistance due to other circumstances are welcome. All children must be pre-registered to receive services at the clinic. To register, call 636-397-6453 by February 15. Appointments will fill quickly.
During the two-day clinic, approximately 600 infants, toddlers and school-aged children will be seen by dental professionals. Comprehensive services include X-rays, professional cleanings, fluoride treatments and sealants, as well as restorations, endodontics and oral surgery as needed. Those under age four will receive special, age-appropriate care in the Tiny Smiles area of the clinic. Those in need of extensive dental services that cannot be completed within the clinic timeframe can obtain the needed, and often critical, follow-up care at no cost through one of the private dental offices enrolled in GKAS’s Smile Factories program.
Services will be provided in a fun-loving atmosphere. Delta Dental of Missouri’s Tooth Wizard, Panda and Spanish-speaking Tooth Fairy will the stroll the clinic floor. Face painters, balloon artists, a juggler, games and music will captivate kids in Delta Dental’s entertainment area. Children will receive prizes, a dental care kit, a nutritious sack lunch and a children’s book donated by the St. Louis County Library Foundation.
"While major dental work is accomplished at each clinic, our ultimate goal is to create a generation of cavity-free children," commented Joan Allen, executive director of Give Kids A Smile. “Dental decay is 100 percent preventable, but education is key. Regardless of the current state of decay in a child’s mouth, we are a resource of restoration that empowers kids and puts them on the path to establishing and maintaining good oral health habits.”
GKAS has provided 11,168 local children with $5.4 million in free dental services through 22 consecutive dental clinics since 2002.
To learn more about the work of Give Kids A Smile or to register for the upcoming clinic, call 636-397-6453, visit www.gkas.org, find them on Facebook under Give Kids A Smile St. Louis or follow them on Twitter @GKAS_StLouis.
Give Kids a Smile was developed by Jeffrey Dalin, DDS; B. Ray Storm, DDS; Tom Flavin, DDS; Mark Ortinau, DDS and Jan Storm, RDHB, in February 2002 to provide children of families who cannot currently afford dental care with access to the benefits of modern dentistry. GKAS has been made possible thanks to major local contributors including Delta Dental of Missouri, Keller Dental Laboratory, Saint Louis University’s Center for Advanced Dental Education, the Missouri Dental Association, Patterson Dental, Goetze Dental, Guardian Life Insurance and First Pacific Corporation and others; as well as through the support of the Greater St. Louis Dental Society and Young Dental and national sponsors Colgate, Henry Shein Dental and Dexis.