Dixie State University students work with local dentists to Give Kids a Smile

Students, faculty, and staff from Dixie State University's Department of Dental Hygiene recently teamed up with local dentists to address the dental needs of uninsured children throughout the Washington Country region.

As part of the Give Kids a Smile event, 73 volunteers provided 47 uninsured children with free services including exams, X-rays, fillings, extractions, sealants and fluoride.

“This is a big win for the kids and our community," said Brenda Armstrong, chair of DSU's Dental Hygiene Department. "We are thrilled that so many children were served by our senior dental hygiene students and that local community dentists offered their services for free to treat the decay needs of the children.”

Along with more than $13,000 in services being provided at the event, local dentists donated nearly $40,000 in dental vouchers to children in need of more extensive treatment. In addition, Colgate and Henry Schein Company donated supplies.

"Access to professional oral health care is a challenge for many in our community,” said Armstrong. “Children from low socioeconomic families, who lack Medicaid or other insurance, are especially vulnerable."

During the event, parents were taught how to care for their children's teeth and where to locate dental professionals. Students and faculty from DSU’s Spanish program also provided translation services to patients and parents to ensure children received appropriate care and understood procedures and treatments taking place.

"This event was truly inspiring to me,” dental hygiene student Gwen Benskin said. “I was able to treat two children who most likely would not have received care if this event hadn't taken place. It not only opened my eyes to the needs of our community, but it also made me realize that I could make a big difference."

For more information about DSU visit dixie.edu or to learn about DSU's Dental Hygiene Clinic go to health.dixie.edu/dental-hygiene/clinic.