This year "tooth fairies" will be guiding more than 800 children and parents through the award-winning Teddy Bear Clinic onto dental cleanings and treatment at the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine's 12th annual "Give Kids a Smile Day."
The proceedings will take place in the Squire Hall lobby and dental clinics on the first and third floors of the dental school from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 1, at UB's South Campus.
(South Campus Maps: http://www.buffalo.edu/buildings/maps/SouthCampus.pdf)
In addition to Michael Glick, DMD, professor and dean of the dental school, other dignitaries who will be in attendance this year from 10:30 a.m. to noon will be Congressman Brian Higgins, Erie County Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale R. Burstein, and City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.
Brown will deliver his annual proclamation endorsing this day as "Give Kids a Smile Day."
Of the 800 students visiting the dental clinics, 400 will be Head Start children.
According to M. Dian ChinKit-Wells, DDS, clinical assistant professor in the UB Department of Pediatric and Community Dentistry, this year's activities have a new theme.
"This year our theme is 'Be a dental hero' because all oral health providers are dental heroes to their patients," said Wells, who has presided over the dental activities for a number of years.
"We are also taking the temperatures and recording the weight of the schoolchildren to get a more complete picture of each child's general health," she added.
While children wait for their appointments, they will watch while Teddy Bears get dental treatment and will also be offered hands-on activities, dental videos, games and oral health instruction and visits by local sports mascots.
A perennial favorite, Mr. Tooth, will be on hand to pose for photos with the kids.
The event is in partnership with the American Dental Association, the New York State Dental Association and the 8th District Dental Society.
Several hundred volunteers, including UB dental school faculty, staff and students; private dentists and their staff; and students and faculty from Erie Community College's Dental Hygiene Program and Equal Opportunity Center's Dental Assisting Program, are donating their time to provide dental care.
The event is part of a national effort to motivate children to adopt good dental health habits early, in order to prevent major problems later.