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SIU School of Dental Medicine Preparing For Give Kids A Smile Day Event

(ALTON, Ill.) Dental professionals through Southern Illinois University's School of Dental Medicine are urging parents of qualified children to bring those between the ages of 3 and 13 to this year's Give Kids A Smile Day from 7:30 a.m. to noon, Friday, Feb. 5 at the School of Dental Medicine Main Clinic, Building 263, 2800 College Ave.

Free dental care, including examinations, x-rays, cleanings, fluoride treatments, fillings and extractions, will be provided by SIU School of Dental Medicine faculty and students, members of the Madison District Dental Society and the St. Clair District Dental Society, and Lewis and Clark Community College dental assisting and dental hygiene faculty and students. Professionals and volunteers from the community will also participate.

Children qualified to participate in the event are those eligible for free and reduced-priced meal programs.

Give Kids a Smile Day is a national event sponsored by the American Dental Association to provide free dental treatment for underserved children. The event is organized to promote community awareness of the need for dental services among the underserved. Locally in Alton, the one-day event allows an average of over 200 children to receive dental care from dental professionals each year. The volunteer dentists and staff offer an annual average of more than $50,000 in preventive and restorative oral health treatment for the children who participate.

"Every measure is being taken to ensure that waiting times are kept to a minimum," said Dr. Poonam Jain, associate professor in the SIU School of Dental Medicine and director of Community Dentistry. "Each child must be accompanied by a parent or guardian in order to be treated."

Fun activities for children will take place throughout the event. The Lewis and Clark Community College Dental Hygiene and Assisting programs will host a "Smile Station" on site, featuring games to help children learn the importance of keeping their teeth clean.

For more information, contact Sherie Gottlob from the School of Dental Medicine, (618) 474-7200, or sgottlo@siue.edu. While pre-registration is preferred, it is not required.

Avid supporters of the event, State Rep. Dan Beiser, D-East Alton, State Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton, U.S. Reps. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, and Jerry Costello, D-Belleville, have been invited to attend.

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