Local dental clinic helps Give Kids a Smile

More than two dozen people “opened wide” at Fifth Avenue Dental during the American Dental Association’s Give Kids a Smile event staged there Feb. 7.

Dental hygienist Teri Johnson cleans and inspects Danika Blake’s teeth at Fifth Avenue Dental during the Feb. 7 Give Kids a Smile day. Photo courtesy of Fifth Avenue Dental

Dental hygienist Teri Johnson cleans and inspects Danika Blake’s teeth at Fifth Avenue Dental during the Feb. 7 Give Kids a Smile day. Photo courtesy of Fifth Avenue Dental

In its 12th consecutive year, the Give Kids A Smile program provides a way for the nation’s dentists to provide free dental services to underserved children.

Staff at Fifth Avenue Dental in Anoka hosts Give Kids a Smile locally, inviting personnel from dental offices in and around the city to participate in the event by volunteering their expertise at the Fifth Avenue Dental office.

This year, 25 children were served by 17 volunteers in just four hours, according to Liz McFarland who organized the event at the local dental clinic.

During the Give Kids a Smile event, dentists and other team members volunteer their time and services to provide screenings, treatments and education to children.

As stated on the American Dental Association website, each year approximately 450,000 children benefit from more than 1,500 Give Kids a Smile events around the country, all because of the efforts of 40,000 or more  annual volunteers.

“It is a great program,” said McFarland. “We participate every other year and see as many children as possible.”

Those children are identified by Anoka-Hennepin School District personnel as coming from low income families or having no dental insurance.

“We send letters out to elementary and middle schools to get the word out that we were doing this,” said McFarland.

The schools then let families know about Give Kids a Smile day and sure enough, smiles multiply as free dental care is provided, McFarland said.

To learn about the American Dental Association’s Give Kids a Smile day, visit ada.org/GiveKidsASmile.aspx or “like” Give Kids a Smile on Facebook.

Sue Austreng is at sue.austreng@ecm-inc.com

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