On Thursday, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Dentistry welcomed 85 students from the Fields Roads and Whitehaven middle school campuses of Freedom Preparatory Academy for their annual Give Kids A Smile Day. Dentistry and dental hygiene students with supervision by faculty performed 958 free dental procedures valued at $20,798.
This year marks the sixth year the UTHSC College of Dentistry has participated in Give Kids A Smile Day and the fourth year the college has partnered with Freedom Preparatory Academy. Procedures included cleanings, fillings, extractions, and oral health tips for their sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders.
“It’s a great opportunity for our students to know that they’re working for something greater than themselves, that being a health care professional is not just about making money, it’s about reaching out and doing a service for people,” said UTHSC College of Dentistry Dean James C. Ragain, Jr., DDS, MS, PhD, FICD, FACD. “We also hope that through this event we can inspire students visiting us today to pursue a career in dentistry or dental hygiene.”
An initiative through the American Dental Association, Give Kids A Smile Day has been providing free dental services to underserved children in the community through volunteers since 2003. It is one of the many public service events in which the College of Dentistry participates annually.
“Freedom Prep is thankful for community partners like the UTHSC College of Dentistry,” said Candace A. Gray, senior director of marketing and communications for Freedom Preparatory Academy. “Give Kids A Smile is not only an opportunity for our students to receive free dental services, but to learn about a career in dentistry, one in which many students are now interested. We are looking forward to Give Kids A Smile 2020!”