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University Of Pittsburgh School Of Dental Medicine Faculty, Students To “Give Kids A Smile”

PITTSBURGH, March 15, 2006 — Poor oral health can have a significant effect on a child’s overall health, yet research suggests that dental care is the most common unmet health need in American children. In recognition of the American Dental Association’s “Give Kids A Smile” day (GKAS), student and faculty volunteers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine will provide screenings and treatment free of charge for up to 100 patients who are otherwise unable to access dental care.

All GKAS participants will receive screenings from volunteers in the department of pediatric dentistry to determine if additional treatment is necessary. Patients will receive care ranging from cleanings to fillings, space maintainers and extractions.

“We try to provide some of the more costly services that might otherwise be out of reach for these families,” said Deborah Studen-Pavlovich, D.M.D., chair of the school’s department of pediatric dentistry. “Our primary goal in this event is to promote a lifelong commitment to oral health. We encourage these children and their parents to return to the clinic to receive ongoing care.”

Dr. Studen-Pavlovich estimates that about a quarter of GKAS participants typically return to receive care through the school’s clinic.

Children will be guided through a series of interactive stations to learn about how to care for their teeth. The stations will cover the following topics: plaque, x-rays, tooth loss, brushing, nutrition and fluoride. Children will also receive a gift bag full of oral health care products, including toothpaste, toothbrush and floss, along with fun items such as coloring books and stickers.

Last year’s GKAS allowed approximately 80 patients to receive nearly $8000 worth of dental care. In addition to dental school faculty, participating groups include the school’s Student Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Student Dental Association (ASDA), members of the dental school alumni board and members of the Western Pennsylvania Dental Society. Dental hygiene students and faculty also donate their time and services to the effort.

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