Dixie State University, local dentists offer free dental treatment to uninsured children

A Dixie State University Dental Hygiene student teaches a child about oral hygiene at a clinic on Nov. 9, 2015. Photo courtesy of Dixie State University

ST GEORGE, Utah — In an effort to make local children smile a little brighter, the Dixie State University Dental Hygiene Program is teaming up with the Henry Schein Dental Supply Company, local dentists and dental hygienists to host the ninth annual Give Kids a Smile dental clinic.

The event will provide uninsured children with free preventive and restorative dental care such as exams, X-rays, fillings, extractions, sealants, cleanings and fluoride. Give Kids a Smile will take place from8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday at the DSU Dental Hygiene Clinic in theRussell C. Taylor Health Science Center, 1526 Medical Center Drive.

“In the Dental Hygiene Program curriculum, we discuss the need to improve access to care for vulnerable members of our community,” Brenda Armstrong, interim chair of Dixie State’s Dental Hygiene Program, said. “This event gives our students another opportunity to serve the most vulnerable while working with area professionals and volunteers. It is a win-win for everyone — especially the children.”

To ensure the participating children receive the best treatment and have a positive experience, dental supply personnel, hygienists, assistants and DSU dental hygiene faculty and students have all volunteered to help with the event.

Offering students across campus the opportunity to participate in this hands-on learning experience and take advantage of the university’s “active learning, active life” approach to education, the Pre-Dental Club at Dixie and students from DSU’s Department of Spanish will also volunteer at the event. Spanish students will serve as translators to ensure patients and their parents receive the treatment they need and understand the procedures they will be undergoing.

Experiencing “active learning, active life” outside of Give Kids a Smile, students in Dixie State’s Dental Hygiene Program take the university’s mobile clinic to the Department of Workforce Services office and offer free X-rays, screenings and cleanings to job seekers, giving them the confidence they need to excel at their next interviews. Additionally, the program takes the mobile clinic to area care centers and sets up a portable clinic inside the facility to provide treatments to patients who aren’t able to get out and visit dentists. Students also visit elementary schools and teach kids about the importance of practicing good oral hygiene.

To learn more about Dixie State University’s Dental Hygiene Department, visit health.dixie.edu/dental-hygiene.

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