School of Dentistry provide free dental care on Give Kids a Smile Day


The tooth fairy made a rare daytime appearance at the University of Minnesota on Saturday, February 5, when she dropped by to visit with some of the 170 children on-hand to receive free dental care in the School of Dentistry’s 27-chair pediatric dental clinic. Free dental services were provided as part of “Give Kids a Smile Day”, a national event held annually to call attention to the growing number of children from low income households who cannot access dental services. The School of Dentistry event drew children and parents from throughout the Twin Cities to the school’s Moos Tower clinic.

Each child received radiographs, an examination and treatment plan, plus emergency and some restorative care, prioritized to address the most critical needs first. Routine and specialty dental services included radiographs, fillings, endodontic procedures, cleanings, extractions, fluoride treatments, stainless steel crowns and the placement of dental sealants. It’s estimated that the dental school provided more than $120,000 of free dental care at the one-day event.

Student coordinators organized all aspects of the day, recruited volunteers, and secured grants and donations of dental materials and supplies to help held defray the cost of providing care. More than 280 dental, dental hygiene and dental therapy students worked alongside dental residents, and School of Dentistry faculty and staff to treat children, ages 11 months to 17 years. Also participating were some 35 students representing the University’s schools of public health, pharmacy, medicine and nursing who staffed educational displays and conducted interactive health-related activities with the children.

According to Patrick Lloyd, Dean of the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, “For us, this day is all about opportunity, investment and partnership. It’s an opportunity to provide much needed care for children, an investment in the education of our students, and a partnership with our professional colleagues around the state and students from other Academic Health Center Schools to match children and their families in need of dental care with our School of Dentistry’s public dental clinics for treatment and follow-up.”

School of Dentistry students on rotation at Rice Regional Dental Clinic in Willmar and at the NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center in North Minneapolis participated in Give Kids a Smile Day events on Friday, February 4.

School of Dentistry patient clinics are open to the public. Dental services for children and adults are provided by student dentists, dental hygienists and dental therapists, and by dental residents, under supervision of a faculty dentist. The full range of general and specialty dental services for children and adults are provided, including check-ups and tooth cleanings, braces, crowns & fillings, treatment of gum disease, oral surgery, root canals, dental implants, dentures, and more. Most dental insurance plans are accepted, including Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare. Reduced fees reflect the student-status of the caregivers. Fees average about 30% below the cost of dental services in a private dental practice. To make an appointment for a child, call: 612-625-7171. To make an appointment for an adult, call: 612-625-2495.

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