More than 500 children received needed dental treatments at no cost during Sharing Smiles Day, a national day of free dental care hosted by Kool Smiles on Sunday, May 21.
“We began Sharing Smiles Day in 2015 as a way to bridge the access gap for children without dental insurance coverage,” said Dr. Dale Mayfield, Chief Dental Officer for Kool Smiles. “Kool Smiles is proud to provide dental care to families with various forms of insurance, including Medicaid, but we also recognize there are many children in our communities who do not have adequate dental insurance coverage and whose families cannot afford regular trips to the dentist. This free care day is one of the ways Kool Smiles doctors and staff work to ensure every child has access to high-quality dental care.”
This year’s Sharing Smiles Day event involved the volunteer efforts of more than 700 Kool Smiles dentists and team members who hosted free dental care days at 43 dental offices in 12 states.
Free dental treatments included dental exams, emergency care, extractions, and necessary restorative care. Treatments were provided on a first-come, first-served basis and treatments were determined by the dentists after consultation with the child’s parent.
“We had a great turnout this year. Our team members had a great day of providing much needed dental care to children in the El Paso community,” said Dr. Andre Singleton, Area Dental Director for the Kool Smiles dental office in El Paso, TX, where volunteer dentists and staff saw 49 patients throughout the course of the day.
“It’s an incredibly rewarding experience to help children in our community get the care they need,” said Dr. D Ray Gifford, Managing Dental Director at Kool Smiles. “We had so many children come in with pain from untreated tooth decay. When they left, we made sure the pain was gone and there were smiles on their faces. We also took the opportunity to talk with children and their parents about the importance of daily brushing, flossing and good nutrition for a happy, healthy smile.”
Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among U.S. children and access to dental care is one of the nation’s greatest unmet health needs, according to a 2016 Pew Charitable Trusts report. A recent national survey conducted by the Benevis Foundation and the Children’s Dental Health Project found that children without dental insurance were twice as likely as insured kids to have had a recent toothache or other dental problem that affected their ability to eat, sleep or concentrate in school.
Sharing Smiles Day is sponsored by the Benevis Foundation.
About Kool Smiles
Kool Smiles is dedicated to creating a world of happy, healthy smiles. As a leading dental health provider, Kool Smiles’ mission is to improve lives by providing high quality dental care in a fun, compassionate environment. Kool Smiles dentists are proud to offer care to kids and adults with almost any insurance plan, including State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP), Medicaid and Tricare. Kool Smiles also provides oral health education programs through partnerships with community schools and organizations. For more information, please visit www.mykoolsmiles.com.