Nearly 400 children from the East Valley arrived at A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-ASDOH) today where they received free dental care. Students, faculty, staff, and alumni of ATSU-ASDOH, as well as volunteer dentists from the community provided dental procedures ranging from cleanings and sealants to fillings and extractions. For many Arizona children, the event fills a critical gap. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), approximately 51 million hours of school are lost each year due to oral health issues and additionally, 31 percent of Arizona children have never had a dental check-up.
Give Kids A Smile was started by the ADA Foundation in 2003 and every year, underserved children from around the nation participate in events, which are intended to be touch points for children who do not receive dental care. Dental students as well as other ATSU health professions students who are involved in the event look forward to Give Kids A Smile each year. “It’s a rewarding event to be involved with as it gives me an indication of what I can look forward to in the future as a dentist,” said Lucas Shin, D2, who is considering a path in pediatric dentistry. Each year, ATSU-ASDOH and the Arizona Dental Foundation partner for Give Kids A Smile to treat patients who may not otherwise receive the care they need.