Kelly Bishop as The Tooth Fairy with a young patient at the SIU School of Dental Medicine’s 2015 Give Kids a Smile Day.

EDWARDSVILLE - Southern Illinois University’s School of Dental Medicine is urging parents of qualified children between the ages of 3 and 13 to bring their children to this year’s 11th annual Give Kids A Smile Day from 7:30 a.m. to noon, Monday, Oct. 10 at the School’s main clinic in building 263, 2800 College Ave. in Alton.

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Setting Give Kids a Smile Day apart is free comprehensive dental care, including examinations, X-rays, cleanings, fluoride treatments, fillings and extractions. All services will be provided by SIU School of Dental Medicine faculty, students and staff, members of the Madison and St. Clair district dental societies, Lewis and Clark Community College dental assisting and dental hygiene faculty and students, and faculty and students from the Missouri College of Assisting. Professionals and volunteers from the community will also participate.

Children qualified to participate in the event are those eligible for free and reduced-priced meal programs.

“We are once again prepared to treat approximately 300 children and hope that the children needing urgent dental care will be able to use this wonderful opportunity to receive treatment,” said Dr. Poonam Jain, professor in the SIU School of Dental Medicine and director of community dentistry. “Each child must be accompanied by a parent or guardian in order to be treated. Apart from dental treatment, fun educational activities and light snacks will be available for all children.”

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Give Kids A Smile Day is a national event sponsored by the American Dental Association to provide free dental treatment for underserved children. The event is organized to promote community awareness of the need for dental services among the underserved.

In Alton, the one-day event allows an average of more than 200 children to receive care from dental professionals each year. The volunteer dentists and staff offer an annual average of more than $50,000 in preventive, restorative and surgical treatment for the children who participate.

Fun activities for children will take place throughout the event. As the wait and treatment may sometimes take several hours, parents are encouraged to bring food for young children with them.  First-year dental students from the SIU School of Dental Medicine will host a “Smile Station” featuring fun, educational activities and games to help children learn the importance of a good diet, oral hygiene and the connections between their mouths and bodies.

For more information, contact Sherie Gottlob from the School of Dental Medicine, (618) 474-7200, or sgottlo@siue.edu. While pre-registration is preferred, it is not required. Walk-ins are welcome between 7:30 a.m. - noon.

The SIUE School of Dental Medicine students manage approximately 35,000 patient visits each year at its patient clinics in Alton and East St. Louis. In addition, students offer oral health treatment, screenings and education to more than 10,000 people annually through a wide variety of off-campus community outreach events. These opportunities provide students the training they need to graduate and become highly skilled dentists. As the only dental school within 200 miles of the St. Louis metropolitan area, the region depends on the School of Dental Medicine as a vital oral healthcare provider. 

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