Free Dental Clinic a Huge Success

In all, 17 faculty members and 220 dental and pre-dental students volunteered their time to treat children ages 2 to 17 during the event. Together, they treated 171 children – more than double the number of patients seen the year before – on Feb. 18 during their annual “Give Kids A Smile” event.

“It’s a proactive measure we initiated to help children from diverse populations with their dental needs,” said Ram Vaderhobli, BDS, MS, assistant clinical professor at the UCSF School of Dentistry.

“Give Kids A Smile” day is one of many outreach events the UCSF School of Dentistry initiates on an ongoing basis. Its faculty and students serve the San Francisco community at the Buchanan Dental Center, an off-site extension general dentistry services provided by the UCSF School of Dentistry. The dental school is also involved in global oral health, with the mission of improving oral and craniofacial health worldwide.

”Not everyone can take their kids to get dental services as frequently as we would like,” said Melissa Esposito, who brought her son to the event. “So clinics like this can give them a good boost to get started.”

This year, 82 percent of patients seen received prophylaxis and polish, while 73 percent received fluoride varnish. Dental school personnel also placed 229 sealants on children’s teeth to prevent future cavities.

“Give Kids A Smile” is a national outreach effort that provides free dental care and education, which started at St. Louis, MO, in 2002. Soon after the first event in St. Louis, the American Dental Association adopted the concept and established a national clinic day in February.