UK Dentistry Gives Local Kids Healthy Smiles
Media Contact: Keith Hautala, 859-257-1754, x231
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 27, 2009) - University of Kentucky dentistry students, residents and faculty will help provide free dental care for 75 first-graders from Fayette and surrounding counties on Saturday Feb. 28.
The children earlier this week attended school field trips to Explor-A-Smile, an annual dental health education program at the Explorium of Lexington.
As in years past, volunteers from the UK College of Dentistry and the Blue Grass Dental Society screened the children for oral health problems during the event. However, this year marks the first time the UK dentistry program has partnered with its community colleagues in the society to provide free follow-up treatment.
Dr. Sharon Turner, dean of the UK College of Dentistry, said it's important to make good oral health accessible to every child.
"The Blue Grass Dental Society has been screening children at the museum for many years, and now we are able to provide free care to needy children through our collaboration and the generosity of Henry Schein Dental Supply Company," Turner said. "Dr. Fonda Robinson and others have worked tirelessly to make sure this is a positive experience for everyone involved. She and Denise Schneider, the society's executive director, have truly taken this activity to a new level."
During Explor-A-Smile, school groups moved through a rotation of activities, including a puppet show that taught kids how to make good choices such as which foods to eat and which to avoid. A tooth fairy and "Mr. Sparkle," a giant blue blob of toothpaste, taught the kids how to brush properly. Projects included making teeth out of paper bags and learning how to make toothpaste if there is none at home.
Some of the children have never been to a dentist, so one goal of the program is to take the fear and stress out of a dental visit.
"The kids love it and it's a fun day for them," said Deanna McDaniel, marketing director at Explorium of Lexington. "They talk about what they are afraid of, and they get good information that will take them through the rest of their lives. They learn it's their mouth and their responsibility to take care of it."
Children's dental services are available at low rates year-round in the UK College of Dentistry Student Dental Clinic. Medicaid and the Kentucky Children's Health Insurance Program (KCHIP) are accepted. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 859-323-6525.