Yearlong dental benefit for 150 needy kids begins May 20
About 150 Seattle-area children will receive a year of fully subsidized dental care, starting with Dental Home Day, an event May 20 in Magnuson Park at The University of Washington Center for Pediatric Dentistry.
The participating children have already been selected; they received invitations through schools, social service agencies, pediatricians and other referral sources. The children will receive checkups, cleanings and restorative work as time permits on May 20, and follow-up care for a year thereafter.
“We’re delighted to provide care for dozens of children who have limited access to dental services,” said Dr. Rebecca Slayton, the center's director. “Dental Home Day is an extension of our goal of making dental care as accessible as possible for all children, especially those who have the greatest need.”
The event calls attention to the importance of giving every child a “dental home” – a continuing relationship with a dentist that addresses oral health in a comprehensive, accessible, coordinated way. It will be conducted by the center in partnership with Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children, the foundation of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. The foundation is funding the care with $30,000 in grants supplied by Sunstar Americas, which makes dental hygiene products.
Dental Home Day coincides with the academy’s annual session, in Seattle this year from May 21-24. About 60 academy-member dentists will volunteer at the daylong clinic, joining the center’s faculty and residents.
“This is the third year of our collaboration with Sunstar on Dental Home Day, and the UW Center for Pediatric Dentistry has pulled out all the stops,” said Dr. Beverly Largent, the foundation president and a pediatric dentist from Paducah, Ky. She will be an event volunteer.
The young patients will enjoy entertaining diversions, including visits from Seattle sports mascots Mariner Moose and the Seahawks’ Blitz as well as games, prizes, story time and a photo booth.
“This will be fun for the children, but there’s a serious message behind Dental Home Day,” said Dr. Joel Berg, dean of the UW School of Dentistry. “Dental disease takes a toll on children. Caries, or tooth decay, is the most common childhood disease, and most of it is preventable with early treatment and good dental habits.”
The Center for Pediatric Dentistry, a clinical partnership between the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital, opened in 2010, thanks to a $5 million founding gift from Delta Dental of Washington and the Washington Dental Service Foundation. Its mission is to provide a high standard of pediatric dentistry and to conduct research and identify best practices in children’s oral health.