February 16, 2017

Openings remain for ‘Give Kids a Smile Day’

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Openings remain for the annual “Give Kids a Smile Day” at Southern Illinois University Carbondale set for March 3. 

The university’s Dental Hygiene Program, in conjunction with the Southern Illinois Dental Society and the Southern Illinois Dental Hygiene Society, provide the service. The event runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the SIU Carbondale Community Dental Center, which is west of the SIU Arena. 

About 20 openings are still available.  The free dental care is open to children from infants to 14 years old who do not receive regular dental treatment and do not have regular access to dental care. In its 15th year, the program, which began in 2003 with about 50 children participating over two days, has grown to an average of about 240 children each of the past seven years.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and camera crews are welcome to cover the event at the SIU Carbondale Community Dental Center. For more information, contact Jennifer M. Meyer, assistant instructor and “Give Kids a Smile Day” coordinator, at 618/453-8826 or by email at jenn10@siu.edu.

Participating children will receive dental examinations, x-rays, cleanings, fluoride treatments, sealants and fillings, or simple extractions under special circumstances. The program also works to find a “dental home” for patients if there is a need for additional treatment. 

Appointments are preferred. To make an appointment, call the center at 618/453-8826 and specify the visit is for “Give Kids a Smile Day.” Approximately 100 students and 16 faculty from the dental hygiene program, along with volunteer dentists and hygienists, will provide the free care. 

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry guidelines suggest that infants should visit a dentist when their teeth begin to emerge. 

The dental hygiene program provides the service in conjunction with the Southern Illinois Dental Hygienists’ Society, Saluki Athletics and the Southern Illinois Dental Society. The program is in the School of Allied Health, which is within the College of Applied Sciences and Arts.