Free dental care for children | News
Ruskin, Florida - Dental disease is the number one childhood disease and it affects far too many children here in Tampa Bay.
"Give Kids a Smile Day" isn't just changing expressions, it's changing lives.
These are the faces of children with no access to healthcare, but are in desperate need.
"It's so disheartening when you see a 4-year-old with their hand over their mouth or you see a 6-year-old who won't smile because they're so embarrassed about their teeth," says Kelli Johnson, the Dental Program Manager at Suncoast Community Health Centers.
That's what dentists and dental hygienists expect to see at the 3rd annual "Give Kids A Smile" event, but they'll change the kids expressions.
At the Suncoast Community Health Center in Ruskin, no one is turned away, but at this event, everything from cleanings to full restorative treatment, is free.
"You see these kids come in tomorrow with these full blown abscesses, problems that are life-threatening. 1100 children in Hillsborough County last year went to the emergency room with dental pain," says Johnson.
Tents will be set up in the parking lot where the children will receive dental care, but Johnson says it's what they do with their families when they get home that make the biggest difference.
"They need to have prevention. The child needs to be at the dentist, at the dental hygienist having preventive dental services. Dental disease is 100% preventable. This is a disease that does not have to occur."
These children will get care that will not only change their health, but change their lives.
"When they actually walk out and they're smiling and happy and they're not in pain. 19:08 It's very rewarding," says Johnson.
The event is Friday, February 2 at 8:00 a.m. at Suncoast Health's Ruskin Health Center located at 2814 14th Avenue Southeast, Ruskin, FL 33575
Children will be treated on a first-come, first-serve basis.
You can also receive free dental here: http://dentistryfromtheheart.org/even/even_upco.php