Students from Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine and professional dentists will provide free oral care for hundreds of Cleveland-area children on Friday, Feb. 5.
Kicking off the Ohio Dental Association’s (ODA) 14th Give Kids a Smile program, the event at the dental school is one of the largest of a spate of similar events nationally through the American Dental Association. Throughout the next year, dentists will volunteer to offer screenings, treatment and oral health education to children.
On Feb. 5, nearly 400 elementary students from Alfred A. Benesch, Artemus Ward and Louis Agassiz schools in Cleveland will receive services at clinics located in the dental school and on the University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital Ronald McDonald Care Mobile unit. Free care is expected to exceed $50,000.
“Our dental students are so pleased to have the opportunity to use their talents to make a direct and positive impact in our community,” said Kenneth Chance, dean of the School of Dental Medicine. “The kids give us smiles, too.”
Already pre-screened in their schools, the children will receive preventive and restorative care, including oral examinations, dental prophylaxis, radiographs and sealants, along with proper oral hygiene instruction.
“The [Case Western Reserve] dental students can have tremendous positive influence on how these children will perceive dental care and its importance for their lifetimes,” said ODA President Chris Connell.
Dignitaries scheduled to speak at the Feb. 5 event include:
United States Sen. Sherrod Brown from Ohio;
William “Bud” Baeslack III, provost and executive vice president of Case Western Reserve;
Patricia DePompei, president, University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and MacDonald Women’s Hospital; and
Eric Gordon, CEO of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.
Over the last five years, volunteer dentists with the Greater Cleveland Dental Society and students from the dental school have provided more than $500,000 in free dental care to more than 1,500 children.
In 2016, an estimated 17,300 children are expected to be seen by more than 380 dentists at more than 75 Give Kids A Smile events in Ohio. The value of care provided is projected to be nearly $800,000, according to the ODA.