January 25, 2010

SIUC to host eighth 'Give Kids a Smile Day'

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- For the eighth consecutive year, the region’s children have the opportunity to get free dental care thanks to the “Give Kids a Smile Day” at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

              The SIUC Dental Hygiene Program, in conjunction with the Southern Illinois Dental Society and the Southern Illinois Dental Hygiene Society, is offering free dental care for children on Feb. 5.  The event will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the SIUC Community Dental Center.

              About 100 students and 21 faculty members from the University’s Dental Hygiene Program, along with numerous volunteer dentists and hygienists from the area, will provide the free dental care.  The event is open to all kids ages 2-18, but the goal is helping as many children as possible who do not have dental insurance, giving the much-needed care to those who might not otherwise get it.

              “With the current state of the economy and individuals losing their jobs, preventive dental care can be one of the first things to go.  Give Kids a Smile Day is an excellent opportunity for students, faculty and dental professionals to give back to their community,” said Jennifer M. Meyer, clinical instructor for the Dental Hygiene Program and coordinator of “Give Kids a Smile Day.”

              During the 2009 “Give Kids a Smile Day” 240 children got free dental treatments, Meyer said.  On Feb. 5, participating children will get dental examinations, x-rays, cleanings, fluoride treatments, sealants, and, if required, fillings or simple extractions.

Appointments are preferred.  To make an appointment, call the center at 618/453-8826 and mention that you’re making an appointment for “Give Kids a Smile Day.” 

The Dental Hygiene Program is in the School of Allied Health.  Dr. Dwayne G. Summers, clinical associate professor, is director of the program, which is a component of the College of Applied Sciences and Arts.