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Kids in Kansas City treated to GKAS care and fun

March 26, 2013

By Jean Williams, ADA News staff

Dr. Bill Kremers of Shawnee Mission treated patient Camila during GKAS event held Feb. 1 at the UMKC School of Dentistry. Photos by Jim Thomas

Third-year dental student Jake Wolf gives his patient Damarion a piggyback ride during a GKAS event held Feb. 1 at UMKC School of Dentistry.
Kansas City, Mo.—Some had simple cleanings while others needed extractions and more complicated treatments. But the 128 elementary school kids had one thing in common: their $38,364 in care was free on Feb. 1, thanks to the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry observation of Give Kids A Smile.

One patient even scored a piggyback ride from third-year dental student Jake Wolf, who treated him during the day. Mr. Wolf said 9-year-old Damarion was one of the little patients who needed a bit more extensive care. “He needed two extractions,” he said.

Mr. Wolf was one of the UMKC third-year dental students who treated patients alongside a dozen volunteer dentists from the Kansas City metro area. Student Ashley Meyer also treated kids during the observation.

“It was awesome,” Ms. Meyer said. “There were so many kids there. It was great that we got to help them out and give them free dental care for the day. I think the kids had a good time, too.”

The young patients came from schools in three counties and their care included X-rays, cleanings, diagnosis, fluoride treatments, sealants, restorative and extractions.

“They closed the whole clinic for the day, and the pediatric department brought in some dentists from private practice that donated their time so they could work on the kids that needed a little more work,” Mr. Wolf said.

Third-year dental student Ashley Meyer shows a radiograph to her patient, Brooklyn, during a GKAS event held Feb. 1 at UMKC School of Dentistry.
The kids all received a toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss donated by Delta Dental of Missouri. And they learned a thing or two about caring for their teeth. “I felt like we made a big impact on them,” Ms. Meyer said. “I really tried to take my time. I disclosed their teeth during the cleaning to show where the plaque was. I gave them a mirror and pointed that out. They were instructional moments. We showed them how to brush and floss properly and tailored that to each specific kid.”

Other than dental services, instructions and products, the kids were treated to face painting, temporary tattoos, a Disney movie, a visit from the Tooth Fairy and more, courtesy of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Student Chapter. The Kansas City Public Library also donated books that were distributed among the children. Delta Dental also provided bus transportation and brown bag lunches for the children. Score 1 for Health, Henry Schein Dental Supply and Proctor & Gamble also provided support for the event.

Mr. Wolf said the GKAS observation was his first, though he's participated in other access to care events.

“It was a blast,” Mr. Wolf said. “The kids were mostly pretty easy to work with, and I think they were a little more comfortable seeing all their friends and classmates in the same situation. I think it was great for the community. I think a lot of kids got a lot of treatment that they wouldn't have otherwise been able to afford or have access to.”