Even in the midst of autumn weather, many dental clinics look forward to a heart-warming day in frigid February when they open their doors for “Give Kids a Smile”. The MDA’s annual charitable program brings together about 3,000 Minnesota dental volunteers to provide free dental care to more than 6,000 low income children.
Plans are now underway for the 2011 event, which is February 4 and 5.
Whether you are a yearly participant or a first-timer, the MDA has some exciting information to share about “Give Kids a Smile”.
Twice the Impact, With the Twins
The MDA is thrilled to announce that it has partnered with the Minnesota Twins to promote “Give Kids a Smile” to families in need. Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire stars in a light-hearted television commercial that will air on WCCO-TV in January.
While taping the commercial this summer, Gardenhire gave an off-camera “thank you” to MDA volunteers. He is well versed on the program, thanks to his own dentist, Don McPartlan, who hosts a “Give Kids a Smile” event in his Minneapolis dental clinic and also pitches in at the Sharing and Caring Hands event.
Along with appearing on the television commercial, Gardenhire’s image — together with four enthusiastic children — will appear in printed promotional materials. Please see the next page for a flier your clinic can use to promote your event to local schools, social service agencies, and other organizations that serve low income children. You are encouraged to print additional copies from the MDA web site.
Babies in the Waiting Room
The MDA’s Children’s Health Care Committee reminds “Give Kids a Smile” participants that this event is a perfect opportunity to implement some version of infant oral exams.
If you see parents with babies in the waiting room, while older siblings are in the operatories, please take some time to meet with the parent and baby to discuss oral health strategies. Especially if the siblings have extensive dental disease, this brief discussion could prevent the baby from suffering the same problems in the future.
“Offer to include baby in the exam,” suggests Teresa Fong, D.D.S., who chairs the Children’s Health Care Committee. “Not everyone will want baby to be examined, but most parents would love to know how to prevent oral health problems for their baby. It’s a chance to start over, especially if older children have problems.”
Dr. Fong encourages “Give Kids a Smile” clinics to utilize a continuing education kit on this topic, available on the MDA web site. The materials give instruction on performing infant exams and sharing educational messages with parents.
Helping Kids, Saving Trees
Last year the MDA saved reams and reams of paper by launching an online registration process for “Give Kids a Smile”.
Because clinic response was so positive, the Association has further developed the online process to include even more elements of the program, including the Participation Kit and post-event paperwork. Thank you!
Online registration will begin October 3 at regonline.com/gkas-mn.