MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University School of Dentistry will celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month by offering free examinations, cleanings, appropriate X-rays, and fluoride treatments to children ages one to 17 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 20 in the WVU Pediatric Dentistry Clinic at the WVU Health Sciences Center.
The appointments are part of the annual “Give Kids a Smile!” national dental access program of the American Dental Association and the West Virginia Dental Association. WVU dental and dental hygiene students will perform the care under the supervision of the faculty. Appointments are required, and space is limited. To schedule an appointment for the free exam, call 304-293-0401.
Each appointment provides roughly $100 worth of dental care at no cost. Last year, the clinic was able to deliver $7,524 of free care to children and teens.
Oral health habits in early childhood can have a big impact on oral health in adult life, so it’s important to get kids to the dentist early in life. Give Kids a Smile helps to make that early dental care available to West Virginia’s kids.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that children see a dentist after they get their first baby tooth and no later than their first birthday. An early visit enables a dentist to determine the child’s risk of cavities so that preventive action can be taken before the first cavity appears.
Give Kids a Smile also helps to prepare West Virginia’s future dentists and dental hygienists.
“Give Kids a Smile is a terrific learning opportunity and a great community health experience for our dental and dental hygiene students. They really seem to enjoy it,” Jennifer Hill, D.D.S., Ph.D., chair of pediatric dentistry at the WVU School of Dentistry, said.
The clinic expects to see 15 children every 45 minutes for a total of 135 patients throughout the day. Participants in past years have ranged from existing patients to children who have never seen a dentist. Children of all needs and levels of care are welcome at the clinic.
Dr. Hill suggests that, in addition to scheduling regular dental exams, such as those offered through Give Kids a Smile, parents care for their children’s oral health by getting sealants for children aged six to 10 and by exposing their children to fluoride through toothpaste and tap water.
For more information on the WVU School of Dentistry, visit http://dentistry.hsc.wvu.edu.