Give Kids A Smile, Smile Kentucky! team up for Day of Free Dental Care

February 5, 2013

Volunteers treat nearly 300 children at U. of Louisville Dental School

Volunteers treat nearly 300 children at U. of Louisville Dental School

Marking the start of February, The American Dental Association (ADA) and Smile Kentucky! collaborated with Henry Schein Dental, the U.S. Dental business of Henry Schein, Inc., Colgate-Palmolive Co., and DEXIS, LLC, kicking off this year’s national Give Kids A Smile® program at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry in Kentucky.

Approximately 40 dentists, 200 dental students and 100 other community members donated their time and expertise to perform comprehensive dental care on approximately 300 underserved children from area schools. 

"One of our top goals in Louisville is to create a much healthier city for people of all ages, no matter their background or where they live," said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer before the event. "Making meaningful progress takes entrepreneurial thinking and strong public-private partnerships. Led by our own Louisville Water, Smile Kentucky! has been a world-class model of collaboration."

Smile Kentucky! is one of the premier state programs nationwide with 150 local groups collaborating to provide more than $1 million in services since the program’s inception in 2002. The ADA’s national Give Kids A Smile® program provides oral health services to children in need and emphasizes the need for government agencies to allocate adequate funding for those services. 

"Our dental school is dedicated to improving the oral health of Kentucky’s children – that’s why we suspend our normal clinical operations the first Friday in February – in order to focus our facility, faculty, staff and students, more than 300 people, on the Smile Kentucky! effort," said John J. Sauk, D.D.S., M.S., dean, University of Louisville School of Dentistry.

The Louisville event is just one in the national Give Kids A Smile initiative, a signature program of the ADA in which approximately 10,000 dentists and their teams volunteer to provide free oral health services to more than 400,000 underserved children  across the nation all year long.

"The success of Smile Kentucky! and other ADA Give Kids A Smile programs around the country underscore the power of public-private partnership," said Stanley M. Bergman, chairman and CEO of Henry Schein, Inc. "Together we have made important strides in narrowing the wide gap in access to oral health care that exists in this country, but there is much work to be done.  We must remain laser focused in helping 'Give Kids A Smile' fulfill its mission of eliminating cavities in U.S. 5-year-olds by 2020."