Free dental care for kids this weekend

Pre-screening for dental clinic Wednesday, Dental clinic Saturday

By Crystal Moyer - Traffic/reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - February is recognized as Children's Dental Health Month and several local groups are working together to "Give Kids a Smile."

It's a program that reaches out to the community and will offer free dental care to children this Saturday.

Parents are asked to bring their kids in for a free prescreening at the Sulzbacher Center on Wednesday.

That prescreening is essential if you want to make sure your children get the free dental care services this weekend. This year, they've opened up the clinic to any child in need of dental care, so attending the prescreening will ensure your child has a spot on treatment day.

For the 7th year in a row, the American Dental Association is sponsoring "Give Kids a Smile Day" in Jacksonville.

The program is designed to provide oral health education as well as treatment to children in our community who don't have access to regular dental care.

"We are definitely going to be doing preventive care, pretty much most of the kids who come will get preventive care mostly cleanings, fluoride treatments, that's kind of a given. Any child who needs restorative care we are going to make sure they are treated to the best of our ability," said Dental Director at the Sulzbacher Center, Suzanne Ebert.

Dentists, hygienists, nutrition students and dental supply companies all volunteer their time to provide the basic dental services to under-served children. The goal is to prevent oral diseases and counsel children and parents on how to take care of their teeth and gums at home.

"Dental infections are responsible for a number of kids not going to school each day, the pain the infection, all kinds of ramifications from not taking care of your child's teeth that's why this year I think it's really important we have the nutrition students on hand," said Ebert.

This year there are no restrictions.

"This year we have opened it up basically any child in the community there are no restrictions. We anticipate treating about 100 kids Saturday," said Ebert.

The clinic is open to any child in our community, ages 3 to 18, who need services.

"It looks like we are going to fill up quickly on the day of the event so prescreening is key if they are interested in a prescreening appointment, just call the center," said Ebert.

To schedule an appointment for prescreening Wednesday, call 394-8060. They will be seeing patients from 2-6 p.m.

"If you're unable to come for the pre-screening day then we are very happy to take walk-ins to the best of our ability on the day of the event and we will be starting at 7:30 in the morning so the earlier the better," said Ebert.

The dental clinic is Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will work on a first-come, first-served basis.

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