WILLMAR, Minn. (January 2018) – Rice Regional Dental Clinic (RRDC) at Rice Memorial Hospital is joining with dental professionals across the country for the American Dental Association’s (ADA) 16th Annual “Give Kids a Smile” day. This one day event takes place on Friday, February 2nd and provides free dental services to children whose families face barriers to dental care. Services include free oral screenings by a local volunteer dentist, cleanings, fluoride varnishes, sealants, oral hygiene instruction, and family dental education.
Appointments are currently being accepted for Friday, February 2 between the hours of 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm. Family members of qualifying individuals (low income children ages 0-17 who are not currently patients at another dental office) should call Rice Regional Dental Clinic at 320-214-2620.
This is the 8th year that Rice Regional Dental Clinic has participated in the American Dental Association’s “Give Kids a Smile” event. Last year, 31 local volunteers helped with the one-day event, including local dentists, hygienists, assistants, students from the University of Minnesota, office personnel, and area public health nurses. Community business support is also an integral part of the event.
In 2017, volunteers at Rice Regional Dental Clinic treated 47 children and provided 307 procedures, valued at $27,572.70. Many were teenagers who had never been to a dentist before. The volunteers also met with parents, instructing them on proper oral hygiene, healthy dietary choices, benefits of fluoridated water for their children’s teeth, and need for regular dental check-ups.
“We want to help families experience a caring dental visit and learn about the connection of oral health to overall health,” said Dr. Linda Jackson, Director of Rice Regional Dental Clinic. “Prevention of early cavities and oral disease will produce positive outcomes for life.”
According to the ADA, more than 181 million Americans won’t visit a dentist this year, even though nearly half of people over 30 suffer from some form of gum disease. Nearly one in four children under five already has cavities and approximately a quarter of the children in the U.S. do not have dental insurance, either private or public.
Give Kids A Smile is held annually to:
- Provide free, easily accessible dental services for children from qualifying families.
- Raise awareness of the epidemic of untreated dental disease occurring both locally and nationally.
- Create local public and private partnerships to increase access to oral health care.
- Teach parents the importance of establishing a dental home for their child within six months of their first tooth.