Free Dental Day for children makes everyone smile
Posted: Mon, Jan 27, 2014
For some children, dental care is too expensive for their families.
That's why the University of Nebraska Medical Center and its College of Dentistry have been offering Children's Dental Day now for 13 years. Twice a year, children are able to receive complimentary dental services.
Children often come from non-fluoridated communities and have little or no access to dental care. Local dentists partner with the university to provide initial examinations, X-rays and a preliminary diagnosis and treatment plan.
When the children arrive on Dental Day for their clinic care, the students, faculty and staff "really roll out the red carpet," says Dr. John Reinhardt, dean of the College of Dentistry.
"We make it a fun day for the children," he says. "We bring in between 150 and 200 children in a single day."
The children are scheduled for procedures ranging from cleaning to restorations, extractions, pulpotomies (saving and restoring baby teeth), crowns and even root canal therapy for some of the older children.
But the program wouldn't be a success without generous support from others, including support from corporate partners such as Ameritas.
"It's needy children, it's underserved children who can't find care elsewhere," Reinhardt says. "And not only did Ameritas help us with the expense, but they became very creative about how good this program was, how much they could help us promote the program. Ameritas has just been a great partner."
The university's Dental Day provides a good example to its dental and dental hygiene students as well. When they graduate, they're implementing similar programs at their practice and in their communities.
"I can't imagine a more direct, impactful and better way for a company like Ameritas to provide exactly what's needed to the most needy, most underserved, most vulnerable," Reinhardt says. "I'm so proud we're a partner with them and am so pleased. And what we do is pretty significant and couldn't be significant without their help."
The College of Dentistry holds Children's Dental Day twice a year: on-site at the college on the university's east campus in Lincoln; and later in the year, Dental Day is held in a rural community selected from across the state. The first Friday in February has been designated by the American Dental Association as Give Kids A Smile day, a time when thousands of dental institutions and offices set aside time and resources to treat underserved children.
The college then holds another Children's Dental Day in June, taking its students, faculty, staff and equipment on the road to serve children living in rural communities.
Besides dental services, the children are able to take part in educational games and activities designed to increase their awareness of oral health and the importance of taking care of their teeth.
Children's Dental Day is made possible by gifts of every amount from companies and people like you. If you would like to support this valuable community program, please consider giving online or contact Susan Norby at the University of Nebraska Foundation at 800-432-3216.