Penn Dental Medicine Students, Faculty Give Kids a Smile with Free Day of Care
Philadelphia — Students and faculty from Penn Dental Medicine provided free dental care to 105 area children as part of Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY)’s 14th annual Give Kids a Smile, Wednesday, April 12.
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 29 sites taking part in the annual Give Kids a Smile program, organized by PCCY. The participating practices were located in Philadelphia, Montgomery and Delaware counties and treated a total of nearly 750 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 developed fun, educational activities for engaging the children while they waited for their appointments. The students 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 third year for us to be part of this event, and we were happy to once again serve children in need of care,” says Dr. Betty Hajishengallis, Division Chief of Pediatric Dentistry, “Our students and faculty were excited to be involved and did a fantastic job.”
In addition to providing free care, a goal of this day of service is to help families enroll in public health insurance programs so their children can continue to receive dental care 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
Support for the event at Penn Dental Medicine was provided by the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly at University of Pennsylvania, Patterson Dental, Dentsply Sirona, Benco Dental, and Henry Schein Dental.