The University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine will provide free oral health care Feb. 6 to hundreds of children from West Philadelphia community as part of "Give Kids a Smile," a children's dental access event sponsored nationally by the American Dental Association and locally by the Pennsylvania Dental Association.
"The School of Dental Medicine is pleased to be part of this national initiative to deliver dental care to children," said Marjorie Jeffcoat, dean of Penn Dental. "Our students and faculty generously give of their time in order to improve oral health in Philadelphia."
During the day-long event, approximately 85 faculty, residents and students will provide free restorative care by appointment to an expected 200 children aged 5 through 12. In addition to examinations and cleanings, simple restorative treatment will be performed according to need.
Also that day, Penn Dental students and staff and area dental-hygiene students will give fun oral health care lessons and free preventive care -- cleanings, fluoride treatments and dental sealants -- to an expected 250 first- and second-grade students on field trips from West Philadelphia elementary schools.
"We are pleased to work with our community partners in providing much-needed dental services to the children of West and Southwest Philadelphia," said Peter Berthold, chair of Penn Dental's Department of Community Oral Health. "Because of our strong community-outreach program, we will be able to follow up with the community leaders and organizations to ensure that oral health care is more readily available to children and all residents of the community."
All children participating in "Give Kids a Smile" will receive free educational handouts, toothpaste and toothbrushes courtesy of Procter & Gamble and report cards with the results of their oral health care examinations to take home to their parents.
"We are excited to be involved in the program, which will complement our ongoing outreach to children in the community," said Philip Giarraputo, director of Student Clinics, who is overseeing "Give Kids a Smile" at Penn Dental. "This is an opportunity to provide some vitally needed services free of charge, while also joining efforts with organized dentistry to bring attention to access issues facing families."
"Give Kids a Smile" was established by the ADA in conjunction with National Children's Dental Health Month to provide services to children and to build awareness among the general public and policy makers on the issues impacting access to children's oral health care. Penn Dental and the dental schools at the University of Pittsburgh and Temple University have been part of the PDA task force organized to facilitate statewide participation in the event. The Delaware and Chester county dental associations and corporate sponsors Ivoclar Vivadent Inc. and Sullivan-Schein Dental also provided support for Penn Dental's "Give Kids a Smile" activities.