MESA, Ariz. (Apr. 18, 2008 ) – Up to 350 children from Apache Junction elementary schools are expected to participate in Give Kids a Smile® day on Friday, April 18, at A.T. Still University’s Arizona School for Dentistry & Oral Health (ASDOH). The event, sponsored jointly by the dental school and the Arizona Dental Association (AzDA), offers underserved children free immediate dental care, ranging from simple cleanings to fillings to more complex care. This marks the third year the event has been co-sponsored by ASDOH.
The local service day is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and in addition to dental care, offers dental education, light refreshments, costumed entertainment characters, and organized games for the children attending. Give Kids a Smile® is organized and executed by students attending ASDOH, volunteer family practice dentists from all over the Valley who are AzDA members, and executive director of AzDA, Ginger Froncek. According to Froncek, children receive this type of care through her organization all year long, but the event held at ASDOH treats more children at one time than any other event in Arizona.
“Last year we treated nearly 200 elementary school-aged children from Apache Junction to Tempe,” said Sean Connolly, one of the dental student directors of the program. “We provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in needed dental care in just a few hours, as well as identified children needing additional work that we could refer to other volunteer dentists after the event.”
Returning to this year’s event, ASDOH alumnus Steven Richardson, D.M.D., identified the real value of providing dental care. “At ASDOH, we learned the importance of giving back to the community. Every dentist does this in one way or another each day of their careers. It is exciting now to come back to ASDOH as one of the members of the first graduated class and join with countless other dentists throughout Arizona to Give Kids a Smile®.”
The Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health is the first dental school established in Arizona and graduated its first class of dentists in June 2007. The School prepares caring, technologically-adept dental students to become community and educational leaders serving those in need. The School offers students an experience-rich learning environment where health professionals approach patient health as part of an interdisciplinary team. The relationship of oral health to total healthcare is an essential component of the mission, teaching, and clinical experiences at ASDOH. The School also offers two reduced-fee dental clinics to the public, one in Mesa and one in Glendale. Call 480.248.8100 for more information, or visit www.atsudental.com.