For the 14th year in a row, more than 800 local
schoolchildren visited the University at Buffalo School of Dental
Medicine during the school’s annual “Give Kids a Smile
Day” on Feb. 7.
This year’s theme was “Super smiles brought to you
courtesy of your dental hero.” And everyone who volunteers or
participates to make the day a success is considered a
For the second year, “tooth fairies” helped guide
the children and their parents through tours of the dental clinics,
hands-on activities, oral hygiene instruction and the award-winning
Teddy Bear Clinic.
In addition to tooth fairies, volunteers numbering in the
hundreds — including private dentists and dental hygienists,
and faculty, students and staff from the UB dental school —
donated their time to provide dental cleanings and treatment to
children who may not receive regular dental care and who may be
seeing a dentist for the first time.
Serving Western New York since 1917, UB’s dental clinic is
also the “dental home” for thousands of patients who
made more than 50,000 visits throughout the year.
In addition to UB Provost Charles F. Zukoski, dignitaries who
were in attendance this year included Erie County Commissioner of
Health Gale R. Burstein, MD, and City of Buffalo Second Deputy
Mayor Ellen S. Grant.
Grant, a UB alumna, thanked the UB dental clinic for helping the
children of Western New York. “We know that the mouth is the
gateway to the body so getting oral health care early is very
important for general health,” she said.
Burstein, who mentioned that her father is a recently retired UB
dental faculty member, noted that as a pediatrician, “I know
that problems with oral health can affect eating, growth and
general health in children. The UB School of Dental Medicine is a
great partner for us in Erie County and one of our
community’s greatest health assets.”
Zukoski, who was making his first appearance at Give Kids a
Smile Day, said the day’s events made UB proud.
“UB Dental and its engagement with the city during events
like this are rewarding for the children, the dental students and
the dental school. I look forward to the 15th Give Kids a Smile
Day,” he said.
Grant proclaimed Feb.7 as “Give Kids a Smile
Michael Glick, DDS, dean of the dental school, said that oral
health problems are the No. 1 cause of missed school days and that
good oral health is a key component of overall health.
Glick added that the annual “Give Kids a Smile
Day” is a major event for the UB School of Dental Medicine
and represents an extraordinary amount of planning, coordination
“This is all possible because of the exceptional efforts
of Dr. Wells, the UB Smile Team and the many Western New York
dentists and community partners who volunteer every year,” he
Event organizer M. Dian ChinKit-Wells, DDS, clinical assistant
professor in the UB Department of Pediatric and Community Dentistry
and a 1994 alumna of UB’s dental school, said children who
have more advanced dental problems requiring more treatment than
could be offered during the day’s visit will be able to
schedule future appointments for care at UB
“As always, every child left the UB clinics with a
toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss and instruction on how to keep
their teeth healthy,” said Wells.
“Every year we work to find our children a dentist in
their local community or they can continue to come to UB and call
us their dental home. It is important that our patients continue
with dental care more than just once a year.”
The event is held as part of National Children’s Dental
Health Month in collaboration with the American Dental Association
and the Eighth District Dental Society.