MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University School of Dentistry will launch National Children’s Dental Health Month by offering free examinations, appropriate x-rays and fluoride treatments to children on Friday, Feb. 4 in the WVU Pediatric Dentistry Clinic. The exams are offered to children ages 1 to 17 from 8:45 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3:45 p.m.

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.

Appointments are required, and space is limited. To schedule an appointment for the free exam, call 304-293-0401 starting Monday, Jan. 24.

WVU dentistry and dental hygiene students will perform the care under the supervision of the faculty.

“This program allows our students and faculty to reach out to people in our community who lack access to dental care because they don’t have insurance,” Louise Veselicky, D.D.S., interim dean of the WVU School of Dentistry, said. “We encourage area residents to take advantage of this opportunity to visit the clinic and learn of the services we can provide to their children.”

The 2001 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health stated that nearly one in six children over age 5 will have a cavity by age 17, and nearly eight in 10 children already have dental decay. Dental problems result in nearly 51 million hours of missed school time each year.

Complications arising from untreated diseases of the mouth can lead to problems in eating, speaking and learning. More than one third of adult West Virginians have lost six or more teeth as a result of decay or gum disease. This is almost twice the national average.

“Starting proper dental care early in life will help children form good oral habits that will carry into adulthood. Dental visits beginning no later than 1 year of age have been shown to prevent or reduce the severity of dental disease,” Elliot Shulman, D.D.S., associate professor of pediatric dentistry, said. “It is vitally important that parents take an active role in their children’s oral health education and supervise or assist them in tooth brushing.”

Dr. Veselicky said, “The WVU School of Dentistry has a long tradition of working to improve the oral health of the citizens of the state. We are pleased to be a part of this effort.”

For more information on the WVU School of Dentistry see

For more information: Angela Jones, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
asj: 01-13-11