College of Dentistry Gives Kids a Smile

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A total of 124 sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade students from Freedom Preparatory Academy’s Westwood and Whitehaven campuses received $35,585 worth of oral health services during this year’s Give Kids a Smile Day. (Photo by UTHSC)

Middle school students from Freedom Preparatory Academy were all smiles during their visit to the UTHSC College of Dentistry Thursday, February 20th.

Their visit was for the annual Give Kids a Smile Day, a national outreach of the American Dental Association, that provides free oral health services to underserved children in the community.

Fourth year dentistry student Julie Nessler smiles with her patient. Third- and fourth-year dentistry students completed the dental procedures during the outreach under faculty supervision. (Photo by UTHSC)

“This event allows us to collaborate with the UTHSC College of Dentistry,” said Andrea Melton, dean of Operations for Freedom Preparatory School. “Our students receive the dental care that they need and it brings the presence of dental school to the Whitehaven community. It’s a great collaboration for the Whitehaven community.”

A total of 124 sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade students from Freedom Preparatory Academy’s Westwood and Whitehaven campuses received $35,585 worth of oral health services. Dental services for the morning outreach included some 1,462 dental procedures including tooth cleaning, radiographs, fluoride applications, sealants, fillings, and extractions by third- and fourth-year dentistry students under faculty supervision.

It is the fifth consecutive year the College of Dentistry has hosted the event and is the seventh year they have participated in the outreach to provide community engaged care.

“This event gives dental students the experience and gives the students from Freedom Prep Academy exposure to dentistry,” said Orpheus Triplett, DDS, assistant dean of Community Oral Health and Outreach for the College of Dentistry. “At the end of the day, it’s our desire to increase dental IQ of students and the households from which they come. This is our way of reaching deep into the community and carrying the presence of UTHSC. And today it was a wonderful day in the neighborhood and that neighborhood today was UTHSC.”