SER4- Dental professionals to donate $1.2 million in care for Give Kids A Smile®

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE- Southeast 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 seven-county WDA Southeast Region will feature GKAS® events in several communities this Friday. Activities scheduled for other dates or with available patient slots are specifically noted.

Brookfield – The six-person Midwest Dental team worked with local schools to identify 10 young patients between the ages of 3 and 16 for basic preventive and restorative care.

Throughout February – National Children’s Dental Health Month — a team from Drs. Rollefson, Trochlell and Associates will visit area preschools and elementary classrooms to talk about the importance of good oral health. Each child will receive a goody bag of personal oral hygiene products.

Elkhorn – Dr. Robert Dillman and the Walworth County Department of Health and Human Services are teaming up to address the urgent dental needs of several area children.

Evansville – The Midwest Dental office worked with the local Head Start program to identify 20 children who will receive needed care this Friday.  

Janesville – Robinson & Prijic Family Dental Associates on Randall Avenue worked with local school officials and the Women, Infant and Children program to identify 100 children between the ages of 3 and 8 to receive needed dental care on Feb. 1.

Kenosha – For more than 11 years, Dr. Bryon Kozak and a member of his team have visited local schools during February to discuss good oral hygiene with students.

Kewaskum – Dr. Stephen Van Ess and staff will provide comprehensive dental care by appointment to 12 area youngsters.

Racine County – More than two dozen Racine County Dental Society members and 30 volunteer staff are again partnering with the nonprofit Health Care Network of Racine to provide some 60 needy youngsters with an estimated $20,000 in critical dental care. Children will be examined at the State Street clinic on Friday, Feb. 1 from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Follow-up care will be scheduled at later dates in volunteer dentists’ private practices.

Salem – Midwest Dental on 75th Street is working with local schools to identify children in need of care and to schedule appointments during February.

Union Grove – The five-person Midwest Dental team on Main Street has 15 children scheduled for dental exams, cleanings, preventive care and necessary restorative treatment.

Waukesha – Waukesha-based Smiles 4 Life, Inc. provides dental screenings, sealants, fluoride treatments and oral hygiene instruction to elementary school-aged children in the Wisconsin counties of Dodge, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Jackson, Jefferson, Monroe, Rock and Walworth. This program expects to help at least 2,000 children and deliver more than $200,000 worth of care during the 2012-13 school year. 

Nine Waukesha County Dental Society dentists, along with two other dentists, 30 dental staff and other volunteers are working with Waukesha County Community Dental Clinic to provide 40 children with necessary oral health care. Youngsters will receive an estimated $33,000 in X-rays, teeth cleanings, dental exams, sealants, treatment for tooth decay and basic oral hygiene instruction.

West Bend – The Riverfront Dentist team is working with local Head Start centers to schedule dozens of preschoolers for exams, basic preventive treatment and urgent care on GKAS® day.

“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.