Two-day program offers free dental care to Minnesota children

January 12, 2012

When parents and their children walk into a dental office in Minnesota on Feb. 3 and 4, they won't need to worry about how much the care their child needs cost, of if their insurance will cover it.

When parents and their children walk into a dental office in Minnesota on Feb. 3 and 4, they won't need to worry about how much the care their child needs cost, of if their insurance will cover it.

For the 10th year, dentists across the state will offer free dental care to the children of Minnesota who otherwise wouldn't have access to care. Through this program, Give Kids a Smile, about 6,000 children will receive the dental care they need.

"We know that the joy and personality of a child is expressed through a smile, but untreated dental problems cause many children to hide their smiles," said Dr. Michael Zakula, president of the Minnesota Dental Association and a practicing orthodontist in Hibbing, Minnesota, according to a news release from the Minnesota Dental Association. "Sadly, tooth decay remains the No. 1 disease in children and the barriers to care that caused us to start this program 10 years ago remain."

Since the program began 10 years ago, about 45,000 children have received free care, with Minnesota dentists donating more than $13.5 million in services. During the two-day program, volunteers that speak multiple languages are on hand to help with language barriers, and school nurses serve as active partners to make sure parents know about the program. 3M ESPE and Health Partners serve as sponsors and help put together statewide TV and radio ads.

Interested in learning more? Check out the Minnesota Dental Association's website for more details.