WVU School of Dentistry Offers Free Children’s Dental Exams Feb. 1

The West Virginia University School of Dentistry will launch National Children’s Dental Health Month by offering free examinations to children ages three to 17, Friday, Feb. 1, in the WVU Pediatric Dentistry Clinic from 9 a.m. – noon and 1–5 p.m.

The appointments are part of the annual “Give Kids a Smile!” national dental access program of the American Dental Association and the West Virginia Dental Association. 

Appointments are required, and space is limited.  To schedule an appointment for the free exam, call (304) 293-0401.

WVU dental students will perform the examinations under the close supervision of faculty dentists.  Oral health instruction will also be provided to both children and parents.

“This program allows our students and faculty to reach out to people in our community who lack access to dental care due to a lack of insurance,” said Louise Veselicky, D.D.S., interim dean of the WVU School of Dentistry. “We encourage area residents to take advantage of this opportunity to visit the clinic and learn of the services we can provide to their children.”

The 2000 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health states that nearly one in six children over age five will have a cavity by age 17, and nearly eight in ten children already have dental decay.  Dental problems result in nearly 51 million hours of missed school time each year. 

Complications arising from untreated diseases of the mouth can lead to problems in eating, speaking and learning.  More than one third of West Virginia adults have lost six or more teeth as a result of decay or gum disease.  This is almost twice the national average. 

“When you begin proper oral healthcare at a young age and continue those practices over a lifetime, many incidents of tooth decay can be prevented,” Elliot Shulman, D.D.S., associate professor and director of pediatric dentistry, said.  “We want to educate children and their parents on the importance and benefits of good oral health care.”

“The WVU School of Dentistry has a long tradition of working to improve the oral health of citizens of the state,” Dr. Veselicky said. “We are pleased to be a part of this effort.”

For more information on the WVU School of Dentistry, visit www.hsc.wvu.edu/sod/.

- WVU -

For more information:
Cassie Waugh, HSC News Service, (304) 293-7087
cw: 01-22-08

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