UTHSC students, faculty give free dental cleanings to local middle schoolers

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Volunteers made it their mission to help give kids a smile.

On Thursday, students, faculty and staff at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Dentistry put on their gloves and masks to provide free dental services to students in need.

Approximately 80 students from Freedom Prep Academy had their teeth cleaned by fourth-year dental students.

The national Give Kids A Smile Day is a program that not only provides these services to those who desperately needs them, but also teaches the professional students the importance of community outreach.

“Outreach is part of what we teach every dental student,” said UTHSC College of Dentistry Dean Tim Hottel, DDS. “Since we started participating in this national initiative, our students and faculty have performed approximately 2,200 dental procedures on more than 400 children. Without this program, dental care for many of these youngsters would be delayed or possibly not received. Our increased visibility in communities provides additional avenues for access to care, an opportunity for our students to educate patients, and introduces us to students who might one day desire to become dentists.”