‘Dental hero’ volunteers treat hundreds of children at UB GKAS Day

Future dentists?: Students from Bethel Head Start scrub up for a day of fun and free dental care at the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine’s GKAS Day observation.

School mascot: University of Buffalo mascot Buster Bison prompts laughter Feb. 7 at the UB School of Dental Medicine’s GKAS Day event.

Buffalo, N.Y.—Heroes don’t always wear capes or run into burning buildings. Sometimes they wear white coats, barrier gowns, gloves, goggles—or even Tooth Fairy costumes—and they treat problems in the mouth.

Bearing in mind the sometimes unsung good deeds of dental professionals, the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine recognized volunteer dentists and other members of the dental team at the school’s Feb. 7 observation of Give Kids A Smile Day by giving it the theme, “Super Smiles Brought to You Courtesy of Your Dental Hero.”

The heroes included private practice dentists, dental hygienists, dental school faculty and staff and dental students who greeted and treated more than 800 local schoolchildren at the 14th annual event. Participating children came from western New York. They received an array of dental services and dental supplies, and some of the dental heroes donned colorful costumes to entertain the children. A giant, smiling tooth waved an oversized toothbrush around, and school mascot Buster Bison shook a lot of little hands. Tooth fairies gave tours of the dental clinic to children and parents. They also provided oral hygiene instruction and took them to the school’s Teddy Bear Clinic, where children wait for their appointments while the tooth fairies give “dental exams” to teddy bears.

Dr. M. Dian ChinKit-Wells, clinical assistant professor in the UB Department of Pediatric and Community Dentistry and a 1994 alumna of UB’s dental school, organized the dental school’s GKAS Day.

“This is all possible because of the exceptional efforts of Dr. Wells, the UB Smile Team and the many western New York dentists and community partners who volunteer every year,” said Dr. Michael Glick, dean of the dental school, and editor of The Journal of the American Dental Association.

UB’s dental clinic offered future appointments to GKAS Day children who had advanced dental problems requiring more treatment than could be offered during the day’s visit.

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