For the 14th year in a row, the Delaware State Dental Society (DSDS) is sponsoring its annual “Give Kids A Smile” program on Saturday.
February is National Children’s Dental Health month. This year, DSDS spokesman Dr. Robert Kacmarcik said 140 local children have already signed up for tomorrow’s free event.
“We’re going to screen the children as they come in, take a diagnostic radiograph or X-ray, identify any problems they might have and then do our best to treat those problems,” Kacmarcik said.
Dozens of dentists, hygienists, dental assistants and office staff will perform the screenings and checkups at the dental office of Norman S. Steward, Jr. at 214 S. Walnut Street in Milford from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
“We want to educate parents that most dental disease is preventable. And with proper diet and proper hygiene we can stop cavities really from starting in the first place,” said Kacmarcik, who also hopes to encourage parents at any income level to find a family dentist.
“Here in Delaware we have one of the, if not the highest participation of dentists in our state Medicaid program. So, for a number of patients who qualify for Medicaid, sometimes it is just about education – informing them yes, you have this benefit, all you need to do is come to an office that participates and get your treatment done,” he said. “Above Medicaid level of treatment, if a child does not have private dental insurance, that can be sometimes considered a barrier due to financial reasons. Most offices have payment plans or are going to work with a family to make sure the children get care.”
The American Dental Association launched the program 15 years ago encouraging local dentists to treat children and teach them how to take care of their teeth and gums. Delaware hopped on board 14 years ago, holding events at various locations throughout the state.
To date, Kacmarcik said the DSDS has seen over 1,900 children, donating more than $687 thousand in dental treatments.