Dentists give free care to state's needy children

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Thousands of Minnesota children who do not have access to a dentist got a chance to see one on Friday and Saturday as part of the 12th annual Give Kids A Smile program from the Minnesota Dental Association.

Since the event began, Minnesota dentists, dental assistants and hygienists have provided free care to nearly 50,000 young children and donated services valued at more than $15 million dollars.

KSTP reported reported that some 6,000 low-income Minnesota children were signed up for the free dental care this year. The station said that the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry was one of the hundreds of offices or clinics that took part in the statewide charitable program that served children under 18 who face barriers to dental care. School of Dentistry faculty and students volunteered their time to offer exams, cleanings, composite fillings, and other services free of charge.

The MDA said that last year, more than 3,000 dental professionals – including 570 dentists – delivered free care to 6,136 children in 203 locations. Again this year, dentists in communities across the state participated in the day of free care. The Perham Focus in the northwestern part of the state reported that Hamann Family Dentistry of Perham provide free dental care for the sixth year in a row.

The Leader of Blooming Prairie in southern Minnesota reported that at least five Steele County area dental offices provided free care to children in need.

Forty percent of uninsured children in the United States have never been to the dentist, according to the Minnesota Dental Association. Tooth decay is currently the No. 1 disease in children, and a child is five times more likely to seek emergency room treatment for dental problems than childhood asthma because they can’t access a dentist, are uninsured or can’t afford dental care, association data sho

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