Dentists in Minnesota will offer free dental care for children in need on February 5 and 6, 2021. Appointments can be booked now. The Minnesota Dental Association (MDA) has nearly a thousand dental professionals volunteering at more than 50 clinics across the state for Give Kids a Smile.
Families can find a clinic with open appointments by calling 211 or by visiting mndental.org. Appointments then can be scheduled directly with the dental office. No eligibility questions will be asked in an effort to remove any possible barriers to care.
Patients must be 18 years old or younger and accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Specific services provided at each location will be outlined when an appointment is scheduled. Volunteers speaking multiple languages also will be available at many locations to help with language barriers.
The MDA cited many oral healthcare challenges that families are facing today. For example:
- Tooth decay is one of the most widespread chronic diseases among children and adolescents.
- Nearly one in five children between the ages of 5 and 11 has untreated cavities in their baby teeth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Well over half of Minnesota children enrolled in Medicaid have not received dental services in the past year, with the situation made worse by Minnesota ranking among the lowest in the nation for reimbursement of government dental program fees.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, extra precautions and safeguards are in place at the clinics participating in Give Kids a Smile, Dental clinics continue to follow guidance and protocols recommended by the CDC to ensure safety during appointments.
Minnesota dentists have provided free care to more than 80,000 children and donated services valued at more than $24 million over the past 18 years to Give Kids a Smile.