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Idaho State University

ISU-Boise Family Dentistry Provides Free Dental Care on "Give Kids a Smile Day"

February, 6, 2008

Boise- Four-year-old Hannah Gardner wore bright green sunglasses and held a fairy-princess wand as dentist Michael Walker, D.D.S. examined her teeth.

And who says a trip to the dentist can’t be fun?

Hannah was one of 33 Treasure Valley youngsters who received free dental care Jan. 30 during Give Kids a Smile Day at the ISU Family Dentistry clinic, 2033 E. Summersweet Drive, in Boise.

This is the third year the Boise clinic has participated in Give Kids a Smile Day, a national event sponsored by the American Dental Association. The purpose is to educate children and their parents about the importance of good dental care, and to provide dental services for youngsters who have no insurance.

“I think this day is wonderful,” said Hannah’s mother, Melissa Smith. “Oral health affects the well-being of your entire body.”

In an exam room next to Hannah’s, sat 8-year-old Hunter Berman. It was his first trip to the dentist, said his mother, Tina.

“I want him to develop good habits. A nice smile is connected to so many things, including self-esteem and good health,” she said.

Dental disease is second only to the common cold in prevalence among children, according to the ADA. Pain from untreated dental disease makes it difficult for children to eat, sleep and pay attention in school.

Since 2005, the ISU-Boise clinic has provided more than $26,200 in free dental care to underserved youngsters in the Treasure Valley on Give
Kids a Smile Day

“It’s great to be able to help kids who may never have had an opportunity to see a dentist,” said dentist Lance Ritchie, D.D.S.  “I like knowing we’re helping to improve their health.”

And the young patients are grateful.

“Feels good,” said 9-year-old Kimani Chapman after hygienist Erin Flynn cleaned and polished his teeth.

“No cavities,” he said with a smile as he and his father left the clinic.

In addition to Give Kids a Smile Day, ISU-Boise Family Dentistry provides treatment and services to children and adults at a reduced fee based on income. To find out if you  qualify, call 208-331-0182.