On the first of April this year, Philadelphia —Penn Dental Medicine opened its doors to underserved children and families in the community, offering free dental care in an effort to provide treatment to as many patients as possible under the leadership of Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY). The Penn Dental Medicine office in Philadelphia, Montgomery, Bucks, and Delaware counties was among the 19 Philadelphia-area locations that took part in this year’s program. More than half of the pediatric and adolescent patients cared for at the school’s pediatric care center and at Puentes de Salud were supplied by Penn Dentistry Medicine students and staff on April 21 and April 28, who also treated children onboard the PennSmiles dental van on April 21, 22, 28, and 29; 94 children were served at these Penn Dental Medicine sites.
We are excited to join with PCCY on their ongoing charity campaign, “Give Kids a Smile,” said Dr. Joan Gluch, director of the Division of Community Oral Health. More than one-third of all juvenile diseases are caused by tooth decay, and regrettably, many Philadelphia children don’t get the dental care they need to prevent and cure cavities. The Provide Kids a Smile Program aspires to give all children access to affordable dental treatment today as well as link parents with options for continuous dental care for their children. Every aspect of the dental checkup was comprehensive: children had thorough oral examinations, cleanings, x-rays if needed, and some fillings and extractions; follow-up appointments were also established for any necessary restorative treatments or preventative operations. Additionally, an aim of this day of service is to encourage families that use these programs enroll their children in public health insurance programs, allowing their children to continue receiving dental treatment. The goal of the pediatric care center at Penn Dental Medicine is to offer economical, high-quality treatment for newborns, children, and adolescents.