01/22/14 – Registration Now Open for Give Kids a Smile Clinic for Feb. 7 and 8

While attempts have been made to help safeguard the dental health of our nation’s youth, hundreds of local children continue to fall through the cracks. The Affordable Care Act includes pediatric dental coverage as one of the 10 Essential Health Benefits, but low-income children remain on Medicaid, and few local dentists accept Medicaid patients. This makes it increasingly difficult for these children to get dental care when it’s needed, much less receive checkups as recommended for proper preventive and restorative care. To help combat this ongoing concern, Give Kids A Smile is set to host another free dental clinic at Saint Louis University’s Center for Advanced Dental Education on February 7 and 8. The clinic is still accepting registrations for appointments by calling 636-397-6453. With 100 time slots remaining, pre-registration should be completed by Feb 3. The organization is also seeking additional volunteer dentists.

“We are a viable and critically important community resource,” commented Joan Allen, Executive Director of Give Kids A Smile. “We have provided comprehensive dental care to over 13,000 local kids over the last decade, and we are set to host our 25th consecutive clinic; yet we know that a lot of children still need access to these services. We hope that we can reach many more people with information about this wonderful program and get those children in for care.”

At each clinic, approximately 600 infants, toddlers and school-aged children up to age 15 are seen by dental professionals. Comprehensive services include X-rays, professional cleanings, fluoride treatments and sealants, as well as restorations, endodontics and oral surgery, as needed. Those in need of extensive dental services that cannot be completed within the allotted clinic timeframe can obtain the needed, and often critical, follow-up care at no cost through one of the many private dental offices enrolled in GKAS’s Smile Factories program.

Dental care services are provided in a fun-loving atmosphere. Delta Dental of Missouri’s Tooth Wizard and Spanish-speaking Tooth Fairy, along with a juggler, stroll the clinic floor, while face painters, balloon artists, games and music captivate the kids in Delta Dental’s entertainment area. Children receive prizes, a dental care kit, a nutritious sack lunch and a children’s book donated by the St. Louis County Library Foundation.

Give Kids A Smile is open to children who are Medicaid-eligible, qualify for a school lunch program or need dental assistance due to other circumstances. The organization is mindful that many area families unexpectedly come into crisis due to job loss, medical issues, changes in the family dynamics and various other situations that leave them unable to afford dental health care for their kids. All registrations are evaluated on a case by case basis.

All of this care would not be possible without the generosity of the program’s volunteer dentists. Allen adds, “The more volunteer dentists we are able to recruit for this upcoming clinic, the more children we will be able to care for over the two-day period. We encourage any interested dentist to give us a call.”

To learn more about the work of Give Kids A Smile, register for the upcoming clinic, or volunteer your professional services, call 636-397-6453 or log on to www.gkas.org.

Give Kids a Smile was developed by Jeffrey Dalin, DDS; B. Ray Storm, DDS; Tom Flavin, DDS; Mark Ortinau, DDS and Jan Storm, RDHB, in February 2002 to provide children of families who cannot afford dental care with access to the benefits of dental services. GKAS is made possible thanks to major contributors and local supporters including Delta Dental of Missouri, First Pacific Corporation, Goetze Dental, Greater St. Louis Dental Society, Guardian Life Insurance, Keller Dental Laboratory, Missouri Dental Association, Patterson Dental, Saint Louis University’s Center for Advanced Dental Education  and Young Dental. National sponsors include Colgate, Henry Shein Dental and DEXIS. Funding is also provided in part by The Missouri Foundation for Health, which is a philanthropic organization whose vision is to improve the health of the people in the communities it serves. 

For more information, contact:

Kelly Harris, The Hauser Group, (314) 436-9090

Joan Allen, Give Kids a Smile, (636) 397-6453