Campus News

Give Kids A Smile Day adds free vision care to new focus on overall health

Girl sitting in a dental chair.

This year, vision care is being added to the traditional dental screenings at Give Kids A Smile Day. Photo: Meredith Forrest Kulwicki

By MARCENE ROBINSON

Published February 6, 2019

Give Kids A Smile Day is Feb. 9, and the School of Dental Medicine is offering free eye examinations from optometrists as part of its effort to expand services beyond oral health care.

The 18th annual event, a national program dedicated to raising awareness about the prevalence of untreated dental disease and teaching children good dental health habits, takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Squire Hall, South Campus.

Openings are still available. Children between the ages 1-18 are welcome. To register, call 716-829-2780 or visit ubdental.com.

This year, more than 200 Western New York schoolchildren will receive free health screenings and dental treatment, including orthodontic assessments.

Throughout the day, children will receive oral health exams, cleanings and fluoride treatments, and if needed, X-rays, fillings or extractions. While they wait, kids can enjoy hands-on activities, games, dental videos and oral health instruction from Buffalo Sabres mascot Sabretooth.

With a new focus on overall health, the program will also offer eye examinations, as well as screenings for hearing loss, guidance on healthy eating, and assistance in determining Medicaid eligibility and in finding a permanent dental home. Nurse practitioners will be available to answer general health questions, and dieticians will provide demonstrations on how to prepare healthy school lunches.

New services will be provided through Davis Vision and an interprofessional collaboration between UB’s School of Nursing, School of Public Health and Health Professions, School of Social Work, and Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences.

Give Kids A Smile Day is held each February in celebration of National Children’s Dental Health Month. The event provides needed care to families who may be uninsured or underinsured.

The program is supported by hundreds of volunteers, including UB dental school faculty, staff and students, as well as private dentists and optometrists and their staff who donate their time to provide care.

The event is held in partnership with the American Dental Association, New York State Dental Association and the Eighth District Dental Society. The program’s sponsor is Fidelis Care, a health plan that provides quality, affordable health insurance to more than 1.6 million New York State residents.