Since February 2003 when the Wisconsin Dental Association joined the American Dental Association in launching Give Kids A Smile®, volunteer dentists, dental team members, dental and hygiene students and community advocates have provided more than $9 million in care to over 70,500 Wisconsin youngsters.
GKAS® children’s dental access program is held during National Children’s Dental Health Month in Wisconsin and enhances the oral health of children. Activities also highlight for policymakers the ongoing challenges that disadvantaged and children face in accessing dental care.
WDA dentists may choose to work with community clinics, public health departments or school nurses to identify and treat children most in need of dental care. Sometimes a local dental society organizes a large-scale GKAS® event in cooperation with a specific youth or social service organization.
In other Wisconsin communities, groups of school children welcome WDA dentists into their classrooms to learn about good daily oral hygiene practices, while other students visit private dental practices where they receive basic services such as teeth cleaning and exams at no cost to their families.
The WDA does not make referrals for care, because GKAS® activities vary substantially across Wisconsin depending on local dentists’ involvement.