The “Give Kids a Smile” annual event offered dental care, entertainment and lunch to almost 300 children at the UTHealth School of Dentistry on February 13 and 14 when the school held the event in partnership with the Greater Houston Dental Society.
Around 400 staff, faculty and student volunteers from the School of Dentistry joined forces with almost 100 community dental hygienists, dentists and pre-dental students to act on behalf of treatment plans designed and advanced earlier this year at multiple prescreening events. When it was viable, radiographs were also included in the children’s record to provide the best care possible.
At the beginning of the year, the School of Dentistry staff, faculty students and residents took the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile to several schools to offer dental services, including Berry Elementary, Tijerina Elementary, Yellowstone Academy and Spring Forest Middle School. The goal was to treat children previously identified as needing dental treatment by the CHRISTUS Foundation for Healthcare and Communities in Schools-Houston. In addition, more patients were identified thanks to TOMAGWA Healthcare Ministries, Inc, San Jose Clinic, and the Houston Asian American Dental Society.
A major effort was made to prescreen all the patients before, but many additional people came to the event in need of dental services, all of whom were seen by dental professionals at the event. Extractions, fillings, sealants, cleaning, and limited restorations are the most frequent services offered at Give Kids a Smile; this year and for the first time, endodontic therapy was also available.
The event was possible thanks to the sponsors: the Susman Family Foundation, Sunstar America, Inc., Alonti Catering, Burkhart Dental Supply, Chick-fil-A at Holcombe and Buffalo Speedway, Cici’s Pizza, Colgate Oral Pharmaceuticals, Coltene/Whaldent, Crosstex, Dentsply, Dole, GlaxoSmithKline, Henry Schein, Kroger, McDonald’s at Holcombe Boulevard, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Houston/Galveston, Inc., Sam’s Club, The French Corner, The Kolache Factory and Ultradent Products, Inc.