Smile Day.jpg

Checking in at the SIU SDM for Give Kids a Smile Day are mom Tarshaee Turner and children (from left) Tarjayee, Tarmajae and Taliyiah.

The Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine’s 15th annual Give Kids a Smile Day on Oct. 12 was a success, with more than 110 children ages 3-13 receiving a combined $52,990 worth of free preventative, restorative and surgical dental treatment.

“This was one of our most successful events in recent years,” SIU SDM Director of Community Dentistry Katie Kosten said. “We served 30 more children than last year. Aside from addressing patients’ immediate dental needs, the other big goal of Give Kids a Smile Day is to make sure each patient has an established dental home.

“We were able to connect with a lot of patients who otherwise did not have a dentist of record, and start the process of them becoming patients at the SIU SDM,” she added. “This is the best way for us to make sure there is continuity of care, so these children don’t fall through the cracks.”

Care included examinations, x-rays, cleanings, fluoride treatments, fillings, sealants, stainless steel crowns and extractions. All services were provided by SIU SDM faculty, students and staff. Because of COVID-19 precautions, the event did not include its staple Smile Stations, but Kosten said all went smoothly.

“We are accustomed to protecting our patients, providers and staff every day in our clinic, so much was business as usual,” Kosten explained. “Parents and patients were grateful, and we hope that they had a positive experience. We missed being able to host the Smile Stations in the gymnasium, but we hope to bring that back in future years.”

Give Kids a Smile Day is a national event sponsored by the American Dental Association to provide free dental treatment for underserved children. The event is organized to promote community awareness of the need for dental services among the underserved.

Load comments