SALT LAKE CITY – Through a combined community outreach effort, the University of Utah's Department of Dental Education recently provided free dental care to 90 underserved kids in the community during the department's annual kids' clinic at the Greenwood Health Center in Midvale.
The kids, ages 2 – 18, received free X-rays, cleanings, screenings, and cavity fillings. They we're all preselected by the community to receive care, and for some of them it was their first time ever seeing a dentist. According to Craige Olson, D.D.S., director of the U's General Practice Residency program, some of them even had difficulty concentrating in school because of tooth decay and resulting pain.
"We see patients that are not typically Medicaid patients or insured anywhere," says Craige Olson, D.D.S., director of the U's General Practice Residency program. "They really are kids that just don't have access to affordable care, so we try to fix that and do good things."
The volunteers who made this event a success were resident dentists from the U of U, dental hygiene students from Salt Lake Community College, various dental professionals from within the community, and members of the Utah Dental Association and the Salt Lake Dental Society. All 12 chairs at the Greenwood Health Center's dental facility were completely dedicated to the kids.