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 ServicesOral 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 27-county WDA Northwest Region will feature GKAS® events in several communities this Friday. Activities scheduled for other dates or with available patient slots are noted.

Abbotsford – Drs. Christina and Troy Rens and their First City Dental team is again providing free dental exams, sealants and fluoride treatments on to 120 Abbotsford and Colby public school second graders. A Clark County public health nurse will present dental health information and schedule needed follow-up care. The Abbotsford Lions Club joins the dental practice in providing each child with a goody bag.

Amery – Dental Arts’ four dentists and 11 staff members will welcome up to 80 local public school children for necessary preventive and restorative services.

Three dentists and 15 staff will welcome 45 children to River Place Dental for free basic dental care and personal oral hygiene instruction.

Antigo – The father-daughter dental team of Drs. Timothy and Meghan O’Brien and their Antigo Dental Clinic staff will again provide 20 youngsters, ages 3 – 12, with dental examinations and preventive treatments. Appointments are being scheduled.

Baldwin – The Midwest Dental Baldwin team will provide up to 15 children with free exams, preventive care and any necessary treatment of cavities.

Chetek – Thirty children will have their smiles improved with a dental exam and preventive care at the Midwest Dental Chetek office.

Eagle River – Northwoods Dental Project serves four rural, northern Wisconsin counties. Four dentists and 12 other volunteers will provide $15,000 in basic preventive care and oral hygiene instruction to 1,800 children in Head Start centers and public schools during the 2013-14 school year.    

Eau Claire – The Midwest Dental offices will schedule appointments for up to 50 children in need of basic preventive and restorative care.

The Northwest District Dental Society is again teaming up with Chippewa Valley Technical College dental hygiene and assisting students to provide preventive and restorative care and oral hygiene education to 100 – 120 children, ages 3 – 15. Appointments are being scheduled.

Western Dairyland Head Start’s 10 dentists and 20 support team members are providing 525 preschoolers with dental screenings and fluoride varnish, and talking with parents about good oral hygiene this school year.

Hayward – Dr. Thomas Tadysak and his Hayward Dental Clinic team will visit with first graders at Hayward Primary School and Minong Elementary School during February – National Children’s Dental Health Month. Some 200 students will get fun lessons in how to brush, floss and eat a healthy diet.

Hudson – The La Petite Dentistry pediatric dental team is working with local health departments to identify 15 children in need of basic preventive care, including sealants and fluoride treatments.

Marathon – Marathon Family Dentistry will provide basic prevention and restorative care to about 20 children.

Menomonie – The local Midwest Dental office will welcome 18 youngsters for a variety of preventive and restorative services. Patients are referred by community groups, schools and social service agencies.

Merrill – The Midwest Dental office is scheduling 15 children for basic preventive and restorative services.

Neillsville – The Clark County Seal-A-Smile program provides preventive care to some 500 area low-income children throughout the school year. Working with the county health department, young patients needing follow-up care are referred to a dentist for treatment.

New Richmond – The Midwest Dental team is providing two dozen youngsters with basic preventive and restorative care.

Some 32 youngsters will leave New Richmond Dental with healthier smiles after getting their teeth cleaned and examined. Some restorative care will also be provided.

Rice Lake – Midwest Dental will welcome 15 youngsters, ages 3 – 16, for basic preventive care and treatment of cavities. Team members will visit classrooms and share oral health information during NCDHM.

Six dentists and 18 Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College team members are offering dental screenings, sealants and fluoride treatments to dozens of children for GKAS®. Classroom presentations on oral hygiene are also scheduled for February – National Children’s Dental Health Month.  

River Falls – Main Street Family Dental’s three dentists and nine team members are partnering with local schools to provide 30 children with basic preventive and restorative care.

Midwest Dental on Commerce Court will provide five children with sealants, fluoride treatments and any necessary fillings.

Superior – The Midwest Dental team will welcome 50 pre-school and kindergarten students for basic preventive care.

Tomah – Thirty children will visit Deer Creek Dental Clinic for exams, X-rays, cleanings, fluoride applications and treatment of any existing dental disease. Families will learn about good oral hygiene practice. 

Wausau – Cherry Tree Dental will celebrate GKAS® by providing 20 children with basic preventive and restorative care  from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

The Midwest Dental team on 24th Avenue South is scheduling appointments for up to 50 children to receive dental screenings, sealants and fluoride treatments. Urgent care will also be provided as needed.

Weston – Forty children will benefit from free care being provided by Cheery Tree Dental.

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.