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VCU School of Dentistry packs the house for GKAS

February 03, 2017

By Jennifer Garvin

Great outcome: 5-year-old April is all smiles after her Give Kids A Smile experience on Feb. 3. Here she poses with pediatric dental resident Dr. Hannah Rustin.
Richmond, Va. — The VCU School of Dentistry hosted its annual Give Kids A Smile event Feb. 3 with more than 100 dental students, dental residents, faculty members, hygiene students and staff working together to provide a wide range of services to some 200 area children.

Earlier in the day: Pediatric resident Dr. Hannah Rustin treats a cavity on 5-year-old April while her mother holds her hand during the VCU School of Dentistry's annual Give Kids A Smile Day on Feb. 3.

All of the children received dental exams and other preventive services, including sealants and fluoride. The event also involved multiple clinics within the dental school and included specialty care from pediatric dentistry, endodontics, oral surgery and periodontics.  

"It's really a great event," said Dr. David Sarrett, dean, VCU School of Dentistry.

In addition to GKAS, Dr. Sarrett said VCU practices "robust community engagement" efforts year-round with initiatives that include sending fourth-year students to work in dental clinics across Virginia for six weeks at a time and the program's annual humanitarian mission in Jamaica.

"We hope it presents a better understanding of the needs of people who really need help," he said.   
For those children requiring follow-up care, the school's GKAS coordinators worked to partner them with area dentists who volunteered services. As it did in 2016, the school also plans to host a second GKAS in July.

Once daily: Fourth-year dental student and future pediatric dental resident Ashley Anderson, left, explains the ins and outs of flossing to Kyra Johnson along with second-year dental student Katie Parkman. Ms. Johnson's 6-year-old Ameer had four sealants placed during VCU's annual Give Kids A Smile event.