UB Program Gives Kids a Healthy Smile

Release Date: February 17, 2012 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- More than 800 local schoolchildren visited the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine on Feb. 3 to participate in the school's 11th annual "Give Kids a Smile Day."

A video of the event is available here: http://bit.ly/yb93wW.

Several hundred volunteers, including UB dental school faculty, staff and students donated the day to provide dental care to the children, many of whom do not receive regular dental care.

The experience, says M. Dian ChinKit-Wells, DDS, clinical assistant professor in the UB Department of Pediatric and Community Dentistry, "changes their vision of dentistry overall."

"There are balloons all over, everybody is all happy. It's 'give kids a smile day.' Not 'give kids dental treatment day.'"

Held as part of National Children's Dental Health Month, the event is a partnership with the American Dental Association and the 8th District Dental Society.

"It's an access-to-care program," ChinKit-Wells explains. "It's for those children that do not have a dentist, do not have health insurance, do not have transportation. It's a program to break that barrier down so that they can get free dental care."

UB dental students play a pivotal role, seeing pediatric patients and doing hands-on dentistry. More important, says ChinKit-Wells, "is that they see that a program as big as the University at Buffalo can shut down for a day and open up their doors for free treatment. We hope they will take this to their private practices when they graduate, that they will take this need to give back to the community so that everyone can be taken care of."

Serving the children of Western New York since 1917, UB's Department of Pediatric and Community Dentistry is the "dentist" for more than 50,000 patients who access its services each year.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and 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.

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