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Operation Smile Brings Underserved RI Kids Dental Care

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

 

It was a fun and smiley day for kids who got dental care free of charge as part of Give Kids A Smile Day at RI Hospital's Samuel Sinclair Dental Center.

Not even the Blizzard of '13 kept the Samuels Sinclair Dental Center from celebrating the 11th annual “Give Kids a Smile Day” (GKAS) with underserved and underinsured children throughout Rhode Island receiving dental care in clinics and private dental offices statewide. Despite the arrival of Winter Storm Nemo and the cancellation of the event’s afternoon session, Samuels Sinclair Dental was still able to see more than 30 children for dental appointments and bring smiles to many faces.

As the centerpiece to National Children’s Dental Health Month, and sponsored by the Rhode Island Dental Association and the American Dental Association, GKAS was designed to provide dental care to low-income children who would not otherwise have access to care, while also raising awareness of the importance of dental coverage for children’s health.

Keeping kids' smiles bright

Nationwide, tooth decay affects more than 25 percent of children between two and five years old and 50 percent of children between 12 and 15 years old, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” said Shirley Spater Freedman, D.M.D., director of the Samuels Sinclair Dental Center at Rhode Island Hospital. “Yet, in Rhode Island, only one percent of the Medicaid budget is allocated for dental services. For many children at our annual Give Kids a Smile event, this will be their first visit to the dentist.”

Children received dental screenings, oral examinations, radiographs, cleanings, fillings and educational materials at the Samuels Sinclair Dental Center at Rhode Island Hospital. The event included visits from Paws, the PawSox mascot, Mr. Potato Head, a group of superheroes, and many hospital representatives and other volunteers as children waited to see their dentist and dental hygienist. Dental supplies for the day were donated by national sponsor Henry Schein and Patterson Dental.

RI partners for a day for kids

Amos House provided breakfast for the event, while Texas Roadhouse supplied lunch. Refreshments such as cake, beverages and paper supplies were provided by East Side Marketplace, Stop & Shop and Shaw’s Supermarkets. Members of Team Hasbro, Hasbro, Inc’s employee volunteer program, helped to brighten the time children spent waiting by bringing toys and games to play with, as well as one for each child to take home. The Hasbro Children’s Hospital Family Resource Center also provided books for patients to read and take home with them.

The Samuels Sinclair Dental Center has been providing dental services to underprivileged children and individuals with special needs for over 80 years. It is the site that launched the first “Give Kids a Smile” program in Rhode Island, and annually organizes statewide events. For more information about Give Kids a Smile Day, contact Debbie Bergh at 401-444-7195, or to contribute to the program, contact the Rhode Island Dental Association at 401-825-7700.

 

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