Helping Kids Smile, One Tooth at a Time

By Anita Srikameswaran 

Children around the region have learned that a visit to a dentist can put smiles on their faces. Last month, faculty, students and staff of the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine once more volunteered for the American Dental Association’s Give Kids A Smile Day, an effort to provide dental services including cleanings, X-rays and exams to uninsured children. Tooth extractions, fillings and restorative care were provided as well.

Heiko Spallek, D.M.D., Ph.D., associate dean at the dental school, commemorated the busy day in a video. More than 80 children – and some teddy bears –were treated by dental and dental hygiene students, residents and faculty in several Salk Hall clinics, which were decorated with an underwater motif in keeping with this year’s “Sea of Smiles” theme (or as one colorful  poster put it, “Sea Our Smile”). During the last 10 years, the dental school has provided more than $100,000 of free dental care through the program.