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2008 'Give Kids A Smile!' Involves More Than 12,000 North Carolina Children
Date:6/5/2008

CARY, N.C., June 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The 6th annual North Carolina "Give Kids A Smile!" program, sponsored by the N.C. Dental Society (NCDS) provided free dental care and dental education to 15,669 children in 92 counties during a statewide day of free care on Feb 1., 2008. This amounts to $1.26 million in free dental services.

More than 1,940 volunteers, including 342 dentists and 816 dental auxiliaries (hygienists and dental assistants), took part in the program. They were aided by local community volunteers, dental students, dental hygiene students and dental assisting students.

"Give Kids A Smile!" is held to highlight the growing dental access to care crisis in North Carolina by providing a day of free dental care to indigent children across the state.

Since the "Give Kids A Smile!" program was begun nationally by then American Dental Association president and Charlotte Dentist, Dr. Greg Chadwick, free oral care has been provided to 85,600 children in North Carolina, amounting to $6.7 million. Almost 11,000 dental volunteers have taken part in the effort since it began in 2003.

"This annual event is one of the most significant outreach programs we undertake at the Dental Society," commented NCDS Executive Director Dr. Alec Parker, a retired Asheville, N.C., dentist. "It is noteworthy not only because of the scope of care provided to needy children, but that it serves to focus attention on the plight of these young patients who don't have adequate access to care."

Dr. Parker noted that more than a million children and adults in North Carolina lack adequate dental care.

With reliable data available from only about two-thirds of the counties in the state, Dr. Parker believes the treatment statistics may be significantly understated. "We believe the numbers could be much larger," he said, "yet this is only the tip of the access crisis iceberg."

Even so, thousands of essential dental procedures were performed, including:

-- 3,084 dental exams

-- 2,157 X-rays

-- 887 fillings

-- 444 extractions

-- 944 pulpotomies (removal of infected tissue within the tooth)

-- 7,397 sealant applications

-- 4,461 children given dental health instruction

"In some cases, the children needed to have multiple teeth extracted," said Dr. Parker. "This is often a result of these kids never having been to the dentist, which is truly tragic."

"Give Kids A Smile!" clinics are held every year the first Friday in February, which is national "Children's Dental Health Month." Additional information is available on the NCDS website: http://www.ncdental.org.

FOR INFORMATION:

Dr. Alec Parker or Suellen Foust

(919) 677-1396


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SOURCE N.C. Dental Society
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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