GMR3- Dental professionals to donate $1.2 million in care for Give Kids A Smile®

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE- Greater Milwaukee Region

WEST ALLIS, WIS., Jan. 30, 2013 – More than 9,500 low-income Wisconsin children will receive an estimated $1.2 million in donated dental care this Friday, Feb. 1, and during upcoming weeks, as part of the 11th annual Give Kids A Smile® national children’s dental access program. 

At least 330 dentists, 234 dental hygienists and 530 other dental team members, dental, hygiene and assisting students, faculty and community advocates will volunteer their time and skills to get underserved children across the Badger State out of pain and treat dental disease with fillings, extractions and crowns. Other events involve dental health screenings, cleanings and oral hygiene education.

GKAS® activities are taking place in private dental practices, large-scale clinics, classrooms and community centers in at least 59 communities statewide.

The Wisconsin Dental Association and its member dentists and dental hygienists work with the state’s Department of Health Services, local government agencies, schools, Head Start and youth and community organizations to identify low-income children in need of dental treatment.

Tooth decay is a serious and transmissible disease. Early childhood cavities, which are preventable, are five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever among America’s children according to the U. S. Surgeon General’s “Oral Health in America” report.

In the Badger State, DHS reports 25 percent of Head Start children ages 3 and 4 have untreated decay and 33 percent have had cavities and now have fillings.

Children in our nation miss more than 51 million school hours annually because of dental problems according to the Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Data Resource Center.

The Midwest Dental office on Morgan Avenue in Greenfield will welcome 10 youngsters for preventive and restorative care.

Elsewhere in the Milwaukee area, GKAS® again is being celebrated with a large-scale, multiple day cooperative effort involving 175 volunteer dentists, dental team members, dental and hygiene students, Marquette University student translators and other helpers.

Organizations involved include the Greater Milwaukee Dental Association, Marquette University School of Dentistry, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Dental Clinic, Children’s Dental Center at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Area Technical College dental hygiene program and numerous private dental offices. Holt Dental Supply and DASH Medical Gloves provide additional support and materials.

More than 500 children lined up as early as 6:30 a.m. with their parents and caregivers at MUSOD on Jan. 26 to be screened for dental disease. The young patients also had their teeth cleaned and fluoride varnish applied. About a dozen of the youngsters required treatment for urgent dental needs that day. All families were educated about good oral hygiene.

Follow-up treatment will be provided to 67 children at participating clinics and in private dental offices throughout the Milwaukee area on Feb. 1 and 8.

Estimated value of preventive and restorative care provided to Milwaukee-area youngsters on this year’s GKAS® screening and treatment days is approximately $100,000.

“The WDA, American Dental Association and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend children have a professional dental exam no later than age 1, because baby teeth matter to a child’s early physical, social and emotional development,” said Dr. Timothy Durtsche, WDA president and La Crosse oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

Approximately $6 million in free dental care and instruction has been provided to 40,417 Wisconsin youth through GKAS® since 2003.

“Charity isn’t an effective or efficient way of reducing barriers to dental care. Dentists are glad to donate their time and skills, but we also want to work with lawmakers to help the state make ‘Healthy Choices’ for the long term,” Durtsche said.

GKAS® activities are supported, in part, nationwide with donations from Henry Schein Dental, Colgate and DEXIS®. WDA Insurance and Services Corp. offers pediatric dental forms to Wisconsin GKAS® events through The Dental Record under its Professional Services Division.