January 30, 2007

Hundreds of Michigan Dentists Giving Free Dental Care to State’s Low-Income Children During Annual ‘Give Kids a Smile’ Program Starting February 2

LANSING, Mich., Jan. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Starting Friday, February 2, hundreds of Michigan Dental Association dentists will provide free dental services on specific dates to low-income children across Michigan. It's part of the American Dental Association's fifth annual "Give Kids a Smile" campaign where dentists around the U.S. donate their services that day to children who, because of economic reasons, don't have access to dental care.

During last year's "Give Kids a Smile" event in Michigan, over 300 dentists, hygienists, assistants and volunteers provided dental care and oral health education to more than 22,000 children. Nationwide, 500,000 children received dental services at over 2,000 sites valued at $100 million.

"There are thousands of disadvantaged children across Michigan who, for economic reasons, are not able to receive regular dental care," said Edwin Secord, DDS, MS, president of the Michigan Dental Association. "Through the 'Give Kids a Smile' program, we deliver free dental treatment, oral health screenings, education and prevention programs to children who need them most.

"The Michigan Dental Association wants to deliver the message that the dental profession can't solve the access-to-care problem alone, and that for every child we care for on this day, even thousands more will continue to suffer until dental health becomes a priority funding issue.

"It's important for lawmakers, as well as the public, to understand that it is absolutely necessary to have proper oral heath care in order to have good overall health. Oral health is primary care," stressed Secord.

Secord went on to say, "In Michigan we are fortunate to have the Healthy Kids Dental program that provides dental care to children from low-income families in 59 of Michigan's 83 counties. As a result of this program more children are receiving necessary dental care and are beginning a pattern of regular routine preventive care."

Healthy Kids Dental was developed by the Michigan Department of Community Health and provides dental benefits to children under 21 years of age who were previously covered by the state's Medicaid dental program. The program is administered by Delta Dental Plan of Michigan.

It is expected that hundreds of dentists throughout the state will be involved in numerous events for "Give Kids a Smile." Locations across Michigan where children will receive free oral health care services include:

   Detroit Area:    * Detroit - Saturday, Feb. 3, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.  University of Detroit      Mercy School of Dentistry, 8200 W. Outer Dr.  Sponsored by the Detroit,      Oakland and Macomb Dental Societies and the UDM School of Dentistry.      Dentists will provide diagnosis and treatment to more than 170      uninsured children.  Call Sherri Doig at (313)871-3500 to schedule an      appointment.  Contact: Dr. Lloyd Lariscy before event at (313)274-8522;      during event at (313)300-3335.     * Shelby Township - Friday, Feb. 2, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., 55131 Shelby Rd.      Dr. Jonathan Penzien will provide cleanings, exams and fluoride      treatments to children ages 10 and under.  Open to the public.      Contact: Dr. Penzien at (248)650-5500.     * Port Huron - Friday, Feb. 2, Hispanic Outreach Center, 295 W. Huron.      Dr. Melanie Sheils-Vergeldt, with the help of the Catholic Social      Services Hispanic Outreach Center, will provide exams, cleanings, x-      rays, fluoride treatments and sealants to 75 children.  Children in      need of more extensive care will be referred to the University of      Detroit Mercy for follow-up treatment.  Event is full.  Contact:      Therese Costello - (248)646-1381.    Lansing Area:    * Lansing - Friday, Feb. 2, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Lansing Community College      Dental Hygiene Clinic, 500 N. Washington Square.  Area dentists will      provide free dental care to 63 children from Lansing's Riddle      Elementary School.  Sponsored by:  Central District Dental Society,      Lansing Community College Dental Hygiene Program, Student American      Dental Hygiene Association, Lansing School District, Delta Dental,      Physician's Health Plan, Capital Area Health Alliance, Central District      Dental Hygienists Society and Central District Dental Assistants      Society.  This event is full.  Contact:  Dr. Greg Komyathy,      517-347-0034 or Sherry Kohlmann, (517)483-1457.    Upper Peninsula:    * Menominee - Friday, Feb. 2, New UP Dental, 4103 10th St. Oral health      education, fluoride treatments, dental sealants for area children.      Event is full.  Contact: (906)863-6381.    Northern Michigan:    * Oscoda - Friday, Feb. 2, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Alcona Health Center, 5671      N. Skeel Ave. Comprehensive dental treatment for uninsured children.      Open to the public. Contact: Lea Krause, (989)739-7927.     * East Jordan - Friday, Feb. 2, East Jordan Public Schools. Area      dentists will provide oral health screenings to 650 preschool through      fifth grade children. Parents will receive a report and the dentists      will work with school nurses to locate treatment and financial aid for      those in need. Contact: Debbie, (231)536-2601.     * Big Rapids - Saturday, Feb. 17, Ferris State University Dental Hygiene      Clinic, 200 Ferris Dr.  FSU's Dental Hygiene Clinic will provide      sealants, exams, x-rays, fluoride varnish, cleanings and minor      restorations for uninsured children. Contact: Annette Jackson,      (231)591-2284.    Southwestern Michigan:    * Berrien Springs - Friday, Feb. 2, Berrien Dental, 8383 M-139.      Comprehensive dental treatment for 40 children with follow-up care for      those in need. Event is full.  Contact: Dr. Lisa Christy,     (269)471-4055.     * Benton Harbor - Friday, Feb. 2, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., 1220 E. Napier      Ave. Free preventive dental treatment to uninsured children. Open to      the public. Contact: Michelle, (269)925-2113.    Muskegon Area:    * Muskegon - Friday, Feb. 2, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Hackley Community Care      Center, 2700 Baker St., Muskegon Heights.  Muskegon area dentists will      provide dental care to 75 area children. Sponsored by the Muskegon      District Dental Society, Muskegon Family Care, Muskegon County Health      Department and the Muskegon Community Dental Coalition. This event is      full.  Contact: Dr. Connie Verhagen at (231)780-3200 or Lisa at      (231)737-8603.    Grand Rapids Area:    * Grand Rapids - Thursday, February 8th, 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. and Friday,      February 9th, 9:30 a.m. - 3 p.m., Grand Rapids Children's Museum, 11      Sheldon Ave, NE. The West Michigan District Dental Society event for      area children features oral health education through the museum's      interactive oral health exhibit.  Several dental characters in costume      will be present.  Approximately 1,300 children are expected to attend      the event.  This event is open to the public.  Contact: Dr. Amy DeYoung      - (616)447-7900.     * Belmont - Friday, February 9th, 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., 6220 Jupiter Ave.      NE, Ste. B. Dr. John Frey will provide free exams, cleanings, sealants      and oral health education to 50 uninsured children.  Open to the      public.  Contact: Shelly - (616)222-0202.     * Grand Rapids - Friday, February 9th, Peters Family Dentistry, 6651      Crossings Ct. SE.  Free comprehensive dental treatment to 40 uninsured      children from Explorer Elementary School.    Sen. Mark Jansen and Sen.      Bill Hardimann attend.  This event is full.  Contact: Dr. Debra Peters      - (616)698-6663.    Zeeland:    * Zeeland - Friday, Feb. 2, Roosevelt Elementary School, 175 W.      Roosevelt Ave., Zeeland.  Hours:  9 a.m. - 3 p.m. The Ottawa County      Health Department and the "Miles of Smiles" Dental Team will provide      oral health education to 600 children at the school.  In addition, 20      children will receive preventive and restorative dental treatment in      the "Miles of Smiles" mobile dental clinic.  This event is full.      Contact: Lois Havermans - (616)393-5771.    Flint:    * Flint - Friday, Feb. 2, Hamilton Community Health Network, G-5399 N.      Saginaw, 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. Free dental services to 75 area uninsured      children.  This event is open to the public.  State Rep. Brenda Clack      will attend this event.  Contact: Hamilton Community Health Network -      (810)785-0863.     * Flint - Friday, Feb. 2, Town Center Family Dental, 4500 Town Center      Parkway. Drs. Lora Thomas and Timothy Vanitvelt, will provide      comprehensive dental treatment for area children.  This event is full.      Contact: Becky - (810)733-1410.    Jackson Area:    * Jackson - Saturday, Feb. 3, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Parkside Middle School at      Parkside Fieldhouse. The Jackson Center for Family Health will sponsor      Step Into Health day and will provide free health screenings and prizes      for the family. Children under the age of 19 will receive a free teeth      cleaning, x-ray and screenings. Games, local celebrities, free snacks,      the 30th Annual 5K Groundhog Gallup. Contact: Dr. Jane Grover,      (517)784-1205, ext. 294.     * Jonesville - Friday, Feb. 2, Adams & Dow, DDS, 211 Harley St. Free      exams and cleanings to 30 children from the Hillsdale Head Start      program.  This event is full.  Contact: Dr. Sharon Dow - (517)849-9195.   

Headquartered in Lansing, the Michigan Dental Association has more than 5,800 members in 26 local dental societies and two dental schools. Since its founding in 1856, the MDA has sought to educate the public, enhance its members' ability to provide high quality care and to promote the science and art of dentistry. For more information on the "Give Kids a Smile" program or other MDA initiatives call 800/589-2632 or log on to http://www.smilemichigan.com/.

Michigan Dental Association

CONTACT: Tom Kochheiser of the Michigan Dental Association,+1-517-346-9422, or cell, +1-517-230-9828, or [email protected]

Web site: http://www.smilemichigan.com/