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Idaho State University

ISU-Meridian dentists provide free dental care on Give Kids a Smile Day

February, 5, 2013

Most kids don’t mind missing a few hours of school. But for a visit to the dentist?

Sure, says 11-year-old Rhodes Hull of Eagle.

Feb. 1, Rhodes and his bothers—James, 15 and LeRoy, 7—spent about an hour at the Delta Dental of IdahoDental Residency Clinic at Idaho State University-Meridian, 1311 E. Central Drive.

It was Give Kids a Smile Day, sponsored by the American Dental Association, and an opportunity to educate children and parents about the importance of good dental health.

Participating youngsters received free dental examinations, teeth cleanings, X-rays, sealants, fillings, fluoride treatments and preventive care education.  ISU dentists, hygienists and assistants dress in costumes to show a visit to the dentist can be fun.

Dressed in blue jeans and a ball cap, Rhodes said caring for his teeth is important. “I don’t want to have loose teeth and look weird,” said Rhodes after the ISU dental team took a panoramic X-ray of his mouth, cleaned his teeth and applied sealants.  He said it didn’t hurt a bit.

Dr. Priya Muthu, who treated Rhodes, loves the educational aspect of Give Kids a Smile Day. “It’s an opportunity to explain the importance of dental hygiene. If you take care of your teeth, you can prevent a lot of future problems,” she said.

In another exam room, Dr. Rosa Pothier gave LeRoy Hull high marks for his dental care. After she examined his mouth and applied sealants, she offered tips on brushing and flossing. “Remember 2 plus 2. Brush twice a day and floss twice a day,” she told him, giving him a gift bag containing a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss.

His mother, Jessamy Hull, was thrilled to learn LeRoy had no cavities and that Dr. Pothier had applied sealants and fluoride to prevent decay.

Sealants cover deep grooves on teeth where cavities can develop, the dentist explained.

“That’s the greatest,” said Hull. “I’m very grateful.”

The clinic provided more than $13,000 in free services and treated 25 children for 2013 Give Kids a Smile Day.

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. The Delta Dental Residency Clinic at ISU is a full-service clinic for adults and children.