Philadelphia — Students and faculty from Penn Dental Medicine provided free dental care to more than 70 area children as part of Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY)’s 13th annual Give Kids a Smile Day, Wednesday, March 23.
Care was provided within the School’s pediatric clinic by residents in the School’s pediatric postgraduate program and students in the DMD program under faculty supervision.
Penn Dental Medicine was one of 21 sites taking part in the annual day of care organized by PCCY. The participating practices were located in Philadelphia, Montgomery County, and Delaware County and treated a total of more than 500 children. Most of the children served at Penn Dental Medicine were from the West Philadelphia neighborhood; City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, who represents West Philadelphia’s Third District, supported the event with her attendance, visiting with parents and children.
“Dental decay is the most common childhood disease, and sadly, many Philadelphia school children don’t get the dental care they need to prevent and treat cavities”, says Dr. Joan Gluch, Division Chief of Community Oral Health. “The Give Kids a Smile Program aims to provide dental care today as well as connect parents with dental offices for continuing dental care for their children”.
Along with providing care, Penn Dental Medicine students in the School’s community honors program developed fun, educational activities for engaging the children while they waited for their appointments. Creating activities around a Disney theme, students outfitted as favorite Disney princesses, provided oral health education at four interactive stations on the topics of visiting the dentist, healthy foods for lunch, brushing and flossing, and how to “re-think your drink” to lower sugar consumption.
“This was the second time that the Division of Pediatric Dentistry participated in the event,” says Dr. Betty Hajishengallis, Division Chief. “The students, staff, and faculty had a great day caring for more children than last year. We are looking forward for an even more successful event next year.”
In addition to providing free care, a goal of this day of service is to help families enroll in public health insurance programs and learn about resources for finding care in the community. The Penn Dental Medicine pediatric clinic provides affordable, quality care for infants, children, and adolescents; appointments can be scheduled by calling 215-898-8965, or at www.penndentalmedicine.org.
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