On Feb. 16, A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health (ATSU-ASDOH) and the Arizona Dental Foundation provided approximately 300 uninsured children with free dental care at the annual event, Give Kids A Smile (GKAS). The event is held each year at the university’s dental clinic on its Mesa campus, 5855 E. Still Circle.
Dental care was provided by ATSU-ASDOH students, faculty and alumni, as well as local volunteer dentists. Children ages 6-12 from Mesa Public Schools, Apache Junction Unified School District and community organizations were prescreened to receive cleanings, fillings, sealants and extractions.
The festivities included carnival games and face painting. Many of the dental students dressed as superheroes and other fictional characters to put kids at ease as they received care.
GKAS is a national program, launched in 2003 by the American Dental Association to reduce school absenteeism by preventing oral health issues. Since the program’s inception, more than 5.5 million underserved children across the country have received free oral health services at a GKAS event.