February was National Children’s Dental Health Month which is a time when the dental profession focuses on the dental needs of children, particularly under-served or children at risk. The highlight of the month is Give Kids A Smile Day (GKAS) when dentists and dental auxiliaries all over the country volunteer their time and talents to providing free dental care to kids in need. This volunteer effort can be in the form of putting in time at a participating local community dental clinic or opening up their own facilities to provide dental services to kids for the day. Give Kids A Smile Day is a joint effort of the American Dental Association, State Dental Associations, and individual dentists and dental auxiliaries.
This year GKASD was February 5th and for the sixth strait year The Furey Dental Group participated by opening our clinic and providing dental care to kids from our surrounding communities who are currently not receiving regular dental care due to economic hardship and lack of dental insurance. Give Kids A Smile Day is always a high energy day where we try to take care of as many kids as we can fit into the day but we always have a lot of fun with the kids and feel good at the end of a busy day knowing we have been able to do some good for the kids in our community who are often forgotten. This year was no exception. We provided care for 22 kids with services including exams, x-rays, cleaning, fluoride application, oral hygiene instruction, sealants, fillings, extractions, and root canal treatments. In our clinic we provided over $7,700 in dental care for the day which was up from the $5,500 in services we provided last year.
Unfortunately there are still many kids who are not getting the care they need. Give Kids A Smile Day is a great event but it really only scratches the surface of the need for care in these under-served population of kids. As our federal and state government wrestles with ideas to reform our current health care system so that quality health care might become more accessible to more Americans we, in the dental profession, are continuing to try to do what we can to address the needs of the under-served with efforts such as GKASD.
We are proud and happy to be a part of GKASD. The smiles on the faces of the kids and the appreciation we receive from the parents is our reward for one busy day of work.