On April 8, an estimated 20 children from low-income Putnam County families will receive free dental services ranging from dental screenings and cleanings up to sealants and fillings or more as part of the national Give Kids a Smile Day.
The date was rescheduled as a result of the ice storm that hit Greencastle near the Feb. 4 planned day of service.
The Give Kids a Smile Program was inaugurated in 2003 by the American Dental Association (ADA) to provide care and raise awareness of the importance of access to dental care for low income children.
Greencastle Pediatric Dentistry (Dr. John Hennette, in his eighth year participating) and Greencastle Hometown Dental (Dr. Dennis Knuth, in his first year participating) will be donating their staffs and services. Drs. Hennette and Knuth will be working closely with the county schools nursing staffs to provide needed dental care for eligible children ages 4-16. Only children who have been screened by the county schools nursing staff are eligible.
Dental cavities (caries) are present in about 25 percnet of all children aged 2-11 years. It is a disease that is five times more common than asthma. It has been ranked as the most common reason for absenteeism from work or from school.
"Putnam County children are not immune from this disease process," Dr. Hennette said. "I have been involved with cases where the children are no longer able to sleep, eat or focus in school and have reached the point where the only alternative is a mouth full of crowns or the extracting of teeth that cannot be saved."
Drs. Hennette and Knuth hope to make good oral health a priority for all children in the community. They seek to educate policymakers and parents that good oral hygiene is integral to overall health and preventive measures like fluoridation and sealants result in long term savings.
Due to the need for signed parental permission and other documentation, Give Kids a Smile events can only see children who are registered in advance through the schools and their nursing staffs. The event is not open to unregistered children.