Nearly 1,400 at-risk children in the Little Rock School District will have access to dental care this year, thanks to a grant from America’s ToothFairy, a foundation dedicated to improving children’s oral health.
The funds were part of $100,000 awarded to members of America’s ToothFairy Dental Clinical Resource Program. This network of nonprofit clinical programs receives financial, product, and educational resources from America’s ToothFairy to expand the delivery of dental services and education to children from low-income or uninsured families.
“We are proud to award these ToothFairy Grants in honor of the many caring companies and individuals supporting our mission to improve oral health outcomes for children,” said Jill Malmgren, executive director of America’s ToothFairy. “Their generous contributions will enable thousands of underserved children to access vital oral preventative services and treatment.”
The Future Smiles Dental Clinic will use the funds to provide oral hygiene instruction, dental screenings, and a toothbrush kit for 1,395 students at Bale, Franklin, Stephens, Wilson, and Wakefield Elementary schools.
“We are thrilled to receive national support for Future Smiles Dental Clinic from the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation to bring dental services to at-risk children in central Arkansas,” said Jolene Perkins, manager of the Future Smiles Dental Clinic.
TheFuture Smiles Dental Clinicprovides comprehensive dental care to children from low- to moderate-income households. The clinic is staffed and coordinated by UA Little Rock Children International and dental professionals from Arkansas Children’s Hospital as well as dental hygiene students from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
Since opening in 2005, the clinic has conducted more than 34,000 dental screenings and provided over $2.2 million of free dental care for children in the Little Rock School District. The clinic serves an average of 1,600 dental patients every year.
Many local organizations support the clinic, including the Little Rock School District, Delta Dental, Heart of Arkansas United Way, University of Arkansas-Pulaski Technical College, and Arkansas Department of Health.
In the upper right photo, Dr. Missy Collins, a dentist at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, discusses dental health with a group of children at the Future Smiles Dental Clinic.