Second student-run Give Kids a Smile event in the works, complete with follow-up care referrals
Give Kids a Smile, a tradition more than a decade in the making, rallies public and private dental practices, dental schools and dental professional organizations nationwide to provide free oral health services to children in need.
On Feb. 28, TAMBCD students will serve pediatric patients at a second annual Give Kids a Smile Event, with this year’s initiative boasting several notable expansions since 2014, the first time students at Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry organized their own event.
Approximately 30 dental students and several faculty members will treat 40 pediatric patients, offering exams, dental sealants and fluoride varnish. This is a threefold increase from approximately 10 patients who were treated in 2014. Instead of using TAMBCD’s 39-foot, two-operatory RV, the event will occur at North Dallas Shared Ministries, one of the college’s new community-based clinical rotation sites. Perhaps the most important addition for patients: TAMBCD students will offer referrals for X-rays, fillings and extractions.
Some of the oral health providers for the follow-up care also are TAMBCD students, who volunteer two nights a month at the Student Run Volunteer Dental Evening Clinic, located at North Dallas Shared Ministries.
The addition of the student-run volunteer clinic in fall 2014 has allowed dental students to offer follow-up care, not just after events like Give Kids a Smile, but also for other patient groups, such as those without insurance and Special Olympics athletes through Special Olympics Special Smiles, which provides oral health care information and screenings.
“It’s been a vehicle for reaching underserved populations who desperately need care,” says fourth-year dental student Niekia Franklin, who helped organize the volunteer clinic and 2014 and 2015 TAMBCD Give Kids a Smile events. “The student-run volunteer clinic gives parents and caretakers the ability to follow up on the services offered during these events.”