As the ADA gears up for its annual Give Kids a Smile program, the Minnesota Dental Association (MDA) is preparing for the event with more than 1,000 dental professionals volunteering at more than 100 clinics across the state to provide free oral healthcare and education to otherwise underserved children on February 2 and 3.
“Preventive care is critical to maintaining good dental health and overall wellbeing, and we will continue to participate in efforts to help those families who face barriers to accessing dental care,” said R. David Resch, DDS, MDA president. “We are very excited again to provide this free program and to instill health oral health habits to Minnesota children.”
Patients must be 18 years or younger and accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Dentists will provide free exams, fillings, and sealants. Specific services provided at each location will be outlined when the appointment is scheduled. Volunteers speaking multiple languages also will be available at many locations to help with language barriers.
According to the MDA, dental disease is more prevalent than childhood asthma across the country. However, more than half of the children in Minnesota who are enrolled in Medicaid have not received dental services in the past year. Also, the state ranks among the lowest in the nation for reimbursement of government dental program fees.
Over the past 15 years, Minnesota dentists have provided free care to more than 68,000 children and donated services valued at more than $18.5 million to Give Kids a Smile. Parents and guardians who want to make an appointment this year can call the United Way at 211 or visit mndental.org. Appointments then can be scheduled directly with the dental office.