February 26, 2014

Media Advisory -- ‘Give Kids a Smile Day’

For an 12th year, the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Dental Hygiene Program will offer its “Give Kids a Smile Day” on Friday, Feb. 28.

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.  The program continues to steadily grow, from about 50 children participating over two days in 2003 to about 240 children each of the past four years.

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.  Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to cover the event. For more information, contact Jennifer M. Meyer, assistant instructor and event coordinator at 618/453-8826 or by email at jenn10@siu.edu.

Approximately 100 students and 10 faculty from the dental hygiene program, along with volunteer dentists and hygienists, will provide the free care.

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.

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 dental hygiene program is in the School of Allied Health, which is within the College of Applied Sciences and Arts.