Minnesota Dentists Donate $2.5 Million in Free Care to Children in Need

Mar 24, 2011, 12:27 ET from Minnesota Dental Association

Broad Based Community Effort Treated 5,678 Children

MINNEAPOLIS, March 24, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Minnesota dentists, committed to making sure all children have the dental care they need and deserve, donated a record $2.5 million dollars of free care to Minnesota children in need in February. The comprehensive free dental care from Minnesota volunteer dentists was provided to 5,678 children in just two days during the Minnesota Dental Association's Give Kids a Smile outreach.

More than 2,600 dental professionals volunteered their time to provide completely free dental care to children whose families cannot otherwise afford the care. While some clinics treated as many as 200 children, most clinics opened their doors to one or two dozen children. Many offices will continue to see the children for free for needed follow-up care.

"Minnesota dentists know there are barriers to care that keep many children from getting needed care," said Dr. Timothy Flor, president of the Minnesota Dental Association and a practicing dentist in Waseca. "This is an amazing broadbased effort to provide direct service on a volunteer basis, while we continue work at the legislature to deliver better care to families in need." Give Kids a Smile is sponsored by the Minnesota Dental Association.

Since its inception 9 years ago, the program has served 43,678 young children and the donated services top $13.5 million dollars in value. On average, each dentist in Minnesota donates $18,000 of care annually to their communities through a variety of charity care for children, seniors, the disabled and families facing economic hardships.

Tooth decay is the single most common chronic disease of childhood in the United States according to the federal statistics. All children are urged to see a dentist before their first birthday.

The Minnesota Dental Association is the voice of dentistry in Minnesota, representing 80% of practicing dentists. It is committed to the highest standards of oral health and access to care for all Minnesotans. You can learn more at www.mndental.org.

SOURCE Minnesota Dental Association