May 25, 2016
On Sunday, May 15, more than 500 children without access to regular dental care received needed services at no cost during Kool Smiles’ second annual Sharing Smiles Day, a day of free dental care hosted exclusively for children without dental insurance. The annual event is designed to help bridge the dental access gap among children without any healthcare coverage.
“Sharing Smiles Day is a reflection of our shared belief at Kool Smiles that every child deserves access to high-quality dental care,” said Dr. Dale Mayfield, Chief Dental Officer for Kool Smiles. “While we’re proud to have created a dental home to more than three million children and families who have come to us with various forms of insurance, including Medicaid, we also recognize there are many children in our local communities who have no insurance coverage and whose families can’t afford regular trips to the dentist. Sharing Smiles Day is an opportunity for our dentists and staff to reach out and give back to children in our communities who are in the greatest need.”
Sharing Smiles Day 2016 involved the volunteer efforts of more than 500 Kool Smiles dentists and staff who hosted the event at 45 Kool Smiles offices in 13 states.
Free dental treatments included dental exams, emergency care, extractions, and necessary restorative care. Treatments were provided on a first-come, first-served basis and treatments were determined by the dentists after consultation with the child’s parent.
“We were amazed at the turnout this year. There was a line at the door by the time our volunteers arrived at 10 a.m.,” said Dr. Diane Earle, Managing Dental Director for the Kool Smiles dental offices in Atlanta, where volunteers served 96 patients throughout the course of the day.
“Several children came to us in significant pain due to prolonged, untreated tooth decay,” said Dr. D Ray Gifford, Managing Dental Director for the Lubbock office, one of 13 Kool Smiles offices in Texas that participated in this year’s event. “When they left, their pain was gone and they were smiling again – that’s an incredibly rewarding feeling.”
Approximately 114 million Americans have no dental coverage, according to the National Association of Dental Plans (NADP). While the Affordable Care Act (ACA), state Medicaid expansions, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) have helped improve children’s access to dental care coverage in recent years, tooth decay remains the most common chronic childhood disease, and its treatment is the most prevalent unmet health need in children.
Sharing Smiles Day is sponsored by the Benevis Foundation.
About Kool Smiles
Kool Smiles is dedicated to creating a world of happy, healthy smiles. As a leading dental health provider, Kool Smiles’ mission is to improve lives by providing high quality dental care in a fun, compassionate environment. Kool Smiles dentists are proud to offer care to kids and adults with almost any insurance plan, including State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP), Medicaid and Tricare. Kool Smiles also provides oral health education programs through partnerships with community schools and organizations. For more information, please visit www.mykoolsmiles.com.
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