Tooth fairies, teddy bears and dental heroes will bring healthy smiles to more than 800 young children and their parents at the 14th annual "Give Kids a Smile Day" presented by the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine.
The event will take place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday in the lobby and dental clinics on the first and third floors of Squire Hall and in Harriman Hall, all on the UB South Campus.
(South Campus Map: http://www.buffalo.edu/buildings/maps/SouthCampus.pdf)
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown will deliver the annual proclamation endorsing the day as "Give Kids a Smile Day" at 10 a.m.
UB President Satish K. Tripathi, U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins and Gale R. Burstein, M.D., Erie County health commissioner, also will attend.
Of the 1,200 students visiting the dental clinics - including some high school students - 600 will be Head Start children, double last year's total.
M. Dian Chin Kit-Wells, DDS, clinical assistant professor in the UB department of pediatric and community dentistry, said this year's theme centers on the power of a smile.
"Healthy smiles - the message is simple, but powerful," Chin Kit-Wells said. "Tyra Banks said, 'A smile is the most important thing you can wear.' We say, let's give every child the opportunity to wear a healthy smile."
Kids will receive health education and dental screenings through the award-winning "Teddy Bear Clinic"; those waiting for treatment at the dental school can enjoy hands-on activities, dental-themed games, oral health instruction and visits by local sports mascots.
Mr. Big Tooth, Dudley the Dinosaur and Sabre Tooth will be on hand to pose for photos with the kids.
Several hundred volunteers, including UB dental school faculty, staff and students, as well as private dentists and their staff, are donating their time to provide dental care.
The event is held in partnership with the American Dental Association, the New York State Dental Association and the 8th District Dental Society. It is part of a national effort to teach children to build good dental health habits while they're young to avoid major oral health problems later in life.
Parking is available in the Squire, Tower and Michael-Farber lots. (On the online map, Squire Hall is No. 19 and its lot is right next to the building - valet parking is available; the Michael-Farber lot is located between Farber Hall, No. 25, and Michael Hall, No. 26.