UTHealth School of Dentistry Students and Faculty Give Kids A Smile
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Dentistry students and faculty took learning out of the classroom and into their clinic to provide free dental care to underserved children from the Houston community.
Over a two-day period, 400 children from the Houston community traveled to the UTHealth School of Dentistry to receive dental cleanings, preventative fluoride treatments and fillings and crowns, if needed.
Patients who were seen at the UTHealth School of Dentistry had all been pre-screened at their schools through the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, the San Jose Clinic, Communities in Schools-Houston, CHRISTUS Foundation for Healthcare, the Boys and Girls Club of Fort Bend County and the Asian Dental Society in an effort to identify children who need care and would otherwise not be provided with it.
“The fact that I come from an underserved community helped me realize that there are so many things we can be doing to make a difference,” said fourth-year dental student Hugo Garcia. “By doing these types of events we can do something positive for our community.”
For the past 13 years, the UTHealth School of Dentistry and Greater Houston Dental Society have been working with the American Dental Association’s program Give Kids a Smile to provide free dental care to children in Houston who would not otherwise be able to see a dentist.
“This partnership is great for the community and for our students,” said Margo Melchor, director of Community Outreach at UTHealth School of Dentistry. “It is a great educational experience for our students, and they can see the diversity of Houston firsthand. It also gives us a chance to reach out to the community and try to help the oral health disparities whether it be lack of insurance or lack of access to CHIP [Children’s Medicaid].”