‘Give Kids a Smile Day’ set for Feb. 7

Published January 30, 2014

More than 800 children and their parents will be guided by “tooth fairies” and other “dental heroes” through the award-winning Teddy Bear Clinic to dental treatment and cleanings at the School of Dental Medicine’s 14th annual “Give Kids a Smile Day.”

The event will take place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 7 in the lobby and dental clinics on the first and third floors of Squire Hall, South Campus.

In addition to UB Provost Charles F. Zukoski, dignitaries who will attend the event this year include U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins, Erie County health commissioner Gale R. Burstein and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.

According to M. Dian ChinKit-Wells, clinical assistant professor in the UB Department of Pediatric and Community Dentistry, this year’s activities have a new theme.

“This year our theme is ‘super smiles brought to you courtesy of your dental hero’ because anyone who volunteers or participates to make this day a success is a dental hero,” says Wells, who has presided over the dental activities for a number of years.

“Again this year, we are taking the temperatures and recording the weight of the schoolchildren to get a more complete picture of each child’s general health,” she adds.

Of the 800 students expected to visit the dental clinics, 400 will be Head Start children.

Give Kids a Smile Day is held in partnership with the American Dental Association, the New York State Dental Association and the 8th District Dental Society.

Several hundred volunteers, including UB dental school faculty, staff and students, as well as private dentists and their staff, are donating their time to provide dental care.

The event is part of a national effort to teach children to establish good dental health habits while young in order to avoid major oral health problems later in life.