Give Kids a Smile (GKaS)® Day at Truckee Meadows Community College is taking place on Saturday, March 11, for the eleventh year.
Northern Nevada’s children between the ages of six and 13 who need dental care are eligible to participate in the event on the main Dandini Campus. The event takes place on a Saturday, in order to provide greater accessibility for parents who work regular weekday hours.
Services are free, but provided by appointment only. Appointments are available between 8 a.m. and noon, and may be scheduled by calling Linda McGillicuddy, Dental Assisting Program Professor at 775-673-7204. McGillicuddy will take appointments until the day is fully scheduled, and then a waiting list will be kept, as additional spaces may become available.
“TMCC is very supportive as a local provider of this national event, and I think it demonstrates to the community that staff and student volunteers care about the community and want to help children in the region by giving back,” she said.
Volunteer student dental assistants and hygienists, TMCC faculty and a doctor of dentistry offer children’s dental screenings and no-cost services at this annual event. Give Kids a Smile Day at TMCC is part of the American Dental Association’s national observance of a day just for children. Data about the services provided and number of children treated is reported back to the ADA.
Free dental health services include:
- Dental exams
- Check-up X-rays
- Dental cleanings
- Fluoride treatments
- Dental sealants
- Referrals, if needed
David Lund, DDS, will be conducting the dental exams for the event. He also teaches part-time at TMCC.
Eleven second-year Dental Hygiene Program students will be providing care for GKaS Day along with 12 first-year dental hygiene majors helping with paperwork and sterilization support. Dental x-rays and chairside assistance for the dentist and hygienists will be provided by a team of about 20 dental assisting students.
The hygienists are in their 4th semester of a four-semester program, and they are supervised by Dr. Lund. TMCC faculty have volunteered to staff and help supervise at the event. They include McGillicuddy; Julie Muhle, Dental Assisting Coordinator; Patty Sanford, Dental Hygiene Professor; Sandra Martinez, Dental Assisting Professor; and Luan Kieu, Dental Hygiene Instructor.
“Through the ADA Foundation's Give Kids A Smile program, launched nationally by the American Dental Association in 2003, more than 5.5 million underserved children have received free oral health services,” according to adafoundation.org. “These free services are provided by volunteers including approximately 10,000 dentists annually, along with 30,000 other dental team members.”
McGillicuddy said that Give Kids a Smile is a practical and important part of the students’ semester.
“Not only do they get additional practice with what it will be like to work with real people in many situations, they also get to be a part of a dental team and work with other dental professionals,” she said.
National Dental Assistant Recognition Week (DARW) is March 5-11, according to the American Dental Assistants Association.
The Lee R. Del Grande Community Service Grant
TMCC’s GKaS Day is funded through its volunteers and the Lee R. Del Grande Community Service Grant. This grant supplements other supplies provided by the American Dental Association (ADA).
The Lee R. Del Grande Community Service Grant helps to pay for x-ray film, disposable dental supplies, fluoride varnish and sealant material.
“Even with our TMCC Dental Hygiene Clinic’s low-cost fees, the children who receive x-rays, exam, cleaning, fluoride and four dental sealants are receiving about $65 of services per child,” said Julie Stage-Rosenberg, Dental Hygiene Professor. “The same services in a private practice dental office would be triple or more.”
She added that the faculty and students donate their time, in addition to the annual event’s coordinator who spends many hours organizing, scheduling and coordinating the day. The TMCC GKaS Day coordinator also tallies up all statistics at the end of the event and reports them to the TMCC community, as well as to the ADA’s national GKaS campaign.
For the past 10 years, Stage-Rosenberg has coordinated the event, and this year McGillicuddy is leading TMCC's GKaS Day.