Philadelphia —Penn Dental Medicine opened its doors this week to children in the community, providing free dental care as part of Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY)’s 16th annual Give Kids a Smile. Penn Dental Medicine was one of 27 sites in Philadelphia, Montgomery, Bucks and Delaware counties to participate in this year’s program. Penn Dental Medicine provided care on April 18 within the School’s pediatric clinic and on April 17 and 18 at Sayre Health Center in West Philadelphia within its dental suite there and aboard its PennSmiles dental van; 47 children were served at these Penn Dental Medicine locations.
This year marked the 5,000th child to receive services through PCCY’s Give Kids a Smile program. In celebration of this milestone, an honorary 5,000th child – Javier Shorey of Philadelphia — was recognized at Penn Dental Medicine. Joining in that recognition along with the students and faculty providing care was Penn Dental Medicine’s Morton Amsterdam Dean, Dr. Mark Wolff; Dr. Joan Gluch, Chief of the Division of Community Oral Health; Colleen McCauley, PCCY Health Policy Director; and City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, who represents West Philadelphia’s Third District where Penn Dental Medicine is located.
“We are pleased to partner with PCCY on Give Kids a Smile,” says Dr. Gluch. “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. The Give Kids a Smile Program aims to provide dental care today as well as connect parents with resources for continuing dental care for their children.”
Children received comprehensive oral exams, cleanings, x-rays as needed, and even some fillings and extractions; follow-up appointments were also made for any required restorative care or preventive procedures. Along with the care provided, Penn Dental Medicine students and the School’s nutritionist engaged with parents and children while they waited for their appointments, offering information on how to “re-think your drink” to lower sugar consumption.
“This was the fifth year for us to be part of this event, and we were happy to once again serve children in need of care,” adds Dr. Gluch. “Our students and faculty were excited to be involved.”
In addition to offering 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. The Penn Dental Medicine pediatric clinic provides affordable, quality care for infants, children, and adolescents; appointments can be scheduled by calling 215-898-8965.