BUFFALO, N.Y. – Taking children to the dentist is
important to their overall health, but for many families in Western
New York, dental care is an unaffordable luxury.
From Oct. 6-11, however, seeing a dentist will be free or cost
little, thanks to 35 dentists in communities throughout Western New
Work and at the University at Buffalo School of Dental
These practitioners are participating in "Healthy Smile Week," a
pilot program and the first in New York State, organized by the UB
dental school's Department of Pediatric and Community Dentistry,
the Eighth District Dental Society and Women and Children's
Hospital of Kaleida Health.
The program was announced Sept. 30 in the UB dental school's
Squire Hall on the South (Main Street) Campus.
The one-week program was created in response to legislation
requiring schools in New York State to request parents of children
entering grades Pre-K or K, 2, 4, 7 and 10 to provide a Dental
Health Certificate certifying they've had a dental screening.
"The legislation requiring schools to request Dental Health
Certificates reflects the growing scientific evidence about the
systemic relationship between good oral health and individuals'
overall quality of health," said Joseph Bernat, D.D.S., chair of
the UB Department of Pediatric and Community Dentistry.
Healthy Smile Week also will encourage parents to select a
family dentist – "a dental home" – where their children
would be seen regularly.
"Since many children do not have access to dental care, Healthy
Smile Week is intended to advocate for oral health and serve those
children who do not have dental insurance and whose schools are
requesting a Dental Health Certificate," said Paul Creighton,
D.D.S., clinical associate professor and director of community
"For these children, free or reduced cost screening and
completion of the Dental Health Certificate will be available at
Private dental practitioners and community health centers in
Batavia, Buffalo – including the dental clinics at the UB
dental school on UB's South Campus – Cheektowaga, Clarence,
Depew, East Aurora, Eggertsville, Getzville, Gowanda, Hamburg,
Lackawanna, Lancaster, Leroy, Lockport, Newfane, Niagara Falls,
North Tonawanda, Orchard Park, Pavillion, Salamanca, and
Williamsville, have set aside hours during the week of Oct. 6 to
provide the screenings.
For specific hours, parents can check http://www.sdm.buffalo.edu/outreach
or call (716) 861-3593.
"This initiative is the first of its kind in the state, and if
successful, may be repeated again later in the school year," said
Frank Barnashuk, D.D.S., president of the Eighth District Dental
Society, the local component of the American Dental Association.
"This is a fine example of the collaborative relationship between
the UB School of Dental Medicine and private practitioners in
Western New York."
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive
public university, a flagship institution in the State University
of New York system that is its largest and most comprehensive
campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic
interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and
professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at
Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.
The School of Dental Medicine is one of five schools that
constitute UB's Academic Health Center.