Making an influence via Give Children A Smile – New Dentist Weblog


Photo of Mirissa Price, D.M.D.

Blogger Mirissa Value, D.M.D., is a board-certified pediatric dentist with the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. She is the interim program director of the pediatric dental residency and assistant professor at Meharry Medical School Faculty of Dentistry in Nashville, Tennessee. Enthusiastic about entry to care, Dr. Value is an ADA Give Children A Smile ambassador, supporting the coordination of nationwide outreach occasions to supply youngsters with dental houses. She earned her dental diploma from Harvard Faculty of Dental Medication in 2019 and accomplished her residency coaching in pediatric dentistry at Boston Kids’s Hospital in 2021, serving as chief resident from 2020-21.

Six-year-old C.J. had a mouth full of cavities. In school, he would disguise his smile, preserving his mouth closed to keep away from bullying. At dwelling, he would solely eat delicate meals, petrified of the ache consuming precipitated. His faculty nurse and pediatrician tried to get him to open his mouth, to see the severity of dental illness, however he would by no means open. He was fearful of extractions and any dental remedy in any respect.

In February 2023, that nervous 6-year-old walked via the doorways to Meharry Medical School Faculty of Dentistry, a participant within the ADA Basis’s Give Children A Smile program. He obtained an applause as he took X-rays, he danced within the halls as he entered the clinics, and he designed his very personal sugar bug artwork. By the tip of the day, with pressing remedy begun and a plan in place for complete care, C.J. gave every of us a hug.

“When can I come again to the dentist?” he requested, his sick tooth packaged with take care of the tooth fairy.

What’s Give Children A Smile?

Give Children A Smile, the ADA Basis’s signature entry to care program, is a nationwide program that started in 2003. The aim is to supply underserved youngsters with free oral well being care and assist set up dental houses for kids in want. In line with the ADA Basis, GKAS has grown to serve greater than 300,000 youngsters yearly. GKAS occasions happen all year long, with the bulk happening in February throughout Nationwide Kids’s Dental Well being Month.

My expertise with Give Children A Smile

I started collaborating in GKAS as a dental scholar at Harvard Faculty of Dental Medication. With a ardour for working with youngsters and a deal with growing entry to care, I joined the planning committee for HSDM’s annual Give Children A Smile occasion in 2016. The following yr, I served as chair of this committee, serving to this system develop in measurement and transfer towards interprofessional collaboration. We supplied free dental care, bodily exams and diet consults multi function constructing.

I knew immediately this was a program I might proceed all through my profession, so I utilized to attend the ADA Basis GKAS Neighborhood Management Improvement Institute to turn out to be a nationwide GKAS ambassador. In 2018, I flew to St. Louis, Missouri, the place I took half in one of many largest GKAS occasions nationwide and discovered straight from Jeff Dalin, D.D.S., co-founder of the St. Louis GKAS program. Upon returning to Boston, I used my information to proceed increasing Harvard’s GKAS occasion whereas additionally guiding others who needed to begin their very own occasions.

Immediately, I’m a board-certified pediatric dentist and interim pediatric dental residency program director at Meharry Medical School Faculty of Dentistry. GKAS nonetheless stays the spotlight of my yr. As an alternative of doing the planning by myself, I work with a group of unimaginable younger professionals, the aspiring pediatric dentists at Meharry. The scholars, together with this yr’s co-coordinators, Tamera Thomas and Joshua Delaney, share my imaginative and prescient of reaching growing numbers of kids in want. This system has grown on Meharry’s campus to deal with almost 200 youngsters, and the whole faculty is concerned (and embellished!). Final yr, C.J. made a particular impression on my coronary heart, however there are such a lot of youngsters similar to C.J. every year who’re solely capable of see a dentist due to GKAS applications nationwide.

You will get concerned, too

GKAS occasions will be massive, like ours at Meharry and Harvard, or small, contained to a neighborhood dental workplace. Every occasion has a profound influence. Participation begins by registering your program on the nationwide GKAS web site,, the place you’ll be able to signal as much as request free training and prevention supplies from this system sponsors, Henry Schein and Colgate. You then recruit volunteers, publicize a free dental care day or work with a college to deliver youngsters to your workplace, and do what dentists do finest: study, clear and deal with enamel.

If I feel again on my dental profession to date, one occasion every year stands out from all the remaining: Give Children A Smile. The title captures each little bit of this program. By making the dental setting enjoyable and reasonably priced, with the assist of the ADA Basis and lots of sponsors, we actually have the potential to reward youngsters wholesome smiles that have been by no means earlier than potential. We are able to actually make an influence.


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