WEST ALLIS, WIS., Feb. 4, 2014 – More than 13,800 low-income Wisconsin children will receive an estimated $1.1 million in donated dental care this Friday, Feb. 7, and during upcoming weeks, as part of the 12th annual Give Kids A Smile® national children’s dental access program.
Some 337 dentists, 187 dental hygienists and 1,028 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 and classrooms in at least 64 communities statewide.
The Wisconsin Dental Association and its member dentists and dental hygienists work with the state’s Department of Health Services‘ Oral Health Program, 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 four 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.
The “2013 – Healthy Smiles/Healthy Growth” report notes 53 percent of third grade children in Wisconsin have fillings and 18 percent currently have untreated dental decay.
Nationwide, children miss 54 million school hours annually because of dental problems.
“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. Julio Rodriguez, WDA president and a general dentist in Brodhead.
The 16-county WDA Northeast Region features GKAS® events in several communities this Friday. Activities scheduled for other dates or with available patient slots are specifically noted.
Appleton – Tri-County Community Dental Clinic is coordinating care this Friday and throughout the remainder of February for approximately 100 children between the ages of 3 and 18 from Calumet, Outagamie and Winnebago counties. Twenty volunteer dentists and their teams are providing basic preventive care, filling cavities and treating other dental disease. Volunteers also include TCCDC staff and students from Fox Valley Technical College and Marquette University School of Dentistry.
Dental Associates’ team will treat some 18 GKAS® patients on Friday.
Dr. David Emanuel and his team have appointments for several children screened by TCCDC. Necessary preventive and restorative care will be provided.
Fox Valley Dental will provide care to about 20 young patients.
The Midwest Dental team will welcome 15 youngsters in need of healthy smiles.
Dr. Roger Stanek’s Wisconsin Avenue office is again scheduling appointments and providing 10 children in need with critical dental care throughout the month of February.
Chilton – Baus Family Dental worked with local faith-based groups and school districts to identify children in need of basic preventive and restorative care. Team members will also visit classrooms with oral hygiene presentations during February.
Fond du Lac – Fond du Lac County Dental Society member dentists will provide needed care to some 150 youngsters referred by the county health department.
More than 25 patients, ages 6 – 18, will receive basic preventive and restorative care at the Midwest Dental office on Western Avenue.
Green Bay – Dental Associates will provide 25 children with basic dental services.
Pediatric dentist Dr. Heidi Eggers-Ulve and her six-member team are providing, young, at-risk mothers and their children living at House of Hope and Marion House with infant oral health care and parent education about oral hygiene practices this Friday. They also visit classrooms throughout the year to talk about good dental health.
Two Midwest Dental offices are working together to give 35 children cavity-free smiles on GKAS® Friday.
Kaukauna – The Dental Expressions team will take their “good dental health is important” message to local classrooms throughout February.
Manitowoc – On Saturday, Feb. 1, the Dental Park team shared information about good dental health with children attending Toddler Time at the Manitowoc Public Library.
Menasha – The Mid-Valley Dental team is working with local educators to identify 20 students with dental care needs.
Neenah – The Midwest Dental team will welcome seven children for a variety of services this Friday.
Dr. Steven Stoll is again working with TCCDC. He and his team will provide basic preventive and restorative care to six young patients.
Oconto Falls – Dr. Debra Munes and her team will provide 12 children with much-needed dental care on Monday, Feb. 10.
Oshkosh – Two Midwest Dental offices will screen 60 youngsters for oral health needs and provide follow-up care as needed.
Plymouth – Joseph & Joseph Dental is again working with the Sheboygan Dental Access Committee to provide necessary care to an estimated 50 children.
The local Midwest Dental clinic staff worked with local schools and health departments to identify eight youngsters who will benefit from basic preventive care.
Shawano – Sixteen youngsters, ages 5 – 14, have been referred by local social service groups, schools and health departments to Midwest Dental for needed care this Friday.
Sheboygan – The Sheboygan County Dental Access Committee, with representatives from the Sheboygan County Dental Society, Sheboygan County Health and Human Services Department and Sheboygan County Head Start, work with local family and youth service programs to identify youngsters in need of dental exams, basic preventive care and emergency treatment. Personal oral hygiene instruction for the families is also an important part of this outreach.
Dr. Linda Bryce and her dental team expect to provide basic preventive care and address urgent dental problems in about 30 children this Friday morning.
Sturgeon Bay – The Ministry Door County Medical Center Dental Clinic is referring several of its young patients who need care to a local volunteer dental office.
Approximately $7.2 million in free dental care and instruction has been provided to 49,900 youth across the Badger State 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,” Rodriguez said.
GKAS® activities are supported nationwide, in part, with donations from Henry Schein Dental, Colgate and DEXIS®. Pediatric dental forms are made available to Wisconsin GKAS® events by The Dental Record through the Professional Services Division of WDA Insurance and Services Corp.