MESA, Ariz. (KSAZ) – Planned, managed and run by students at A.T. Still University in Mesa, Friday was a busy day inside the clinic as hundreds of young patients got free dental care.
“We treat over 300 children doing comprehensive care, not just prevention,” said Dr. Jack Dillenberger, dean of the Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health. “We’re doing fillings, root canals, extractions, we even have a fund setup called ‘Smile Forward,’ that if we can’t complete the dentistry on the children today, they can come back and it’s still free.”
Dr. Dillenberg says the goal this year is to treat 450 kids.
“I’m getting my cavity fixed,” William Botos said. “My parents don’t have to fix if it’s free.”
“Giving Kids a Smile Day” serves a two-fold purpose: The kids get needed care, but the students, our future dentists, get hands-on experience that will help them treat patients when they graduate.
“One of my sons, I have twins, my eldest son was born with a cleft pallet,” Candace Patterson said. “He has has a lot of dental work surgery, on top of that having to get teeth taken care of. It adds up. This is a beautiful service.”