Carris Health Dental Clinic to provide free dental care to children in need

Published in News

Carris Health Dental Clinic at Rice Memorial Hospital is joining with dental professionals across the country for the American Dental Association’s (ADA) 18th Annual “Give Kids a Smile” day. This one day event takes place on Friday, February 7th and provides free dental services to children whose families face barriers to dental care. Services include free oral screenings by a local volunteer dentist, cleanings, fluoride varnishes, sealants, oral hygiene instruction, and family dental education.

Appointments are currently being accepted for Friday, February 7 between the hours of 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm. Qualifying individuals (low income children ages 0-17 who are not currently patients at another dental office) should call Carris Health Dental Clinic at 320-214-2620.

This is the 10th year that Carris Health Dental Clinic has participated in the American Dental Association’s “Give Kids a Smile” event. Last year, 29 volunteers helped with the one-day event, including local dentists, hygienists, assistants, interpreters, office personnel, and area public health nurses. Community business support is also an integral part of the event as the total cost of care and procedures provided was valued at $18,258.78. A total of 44 children were seen, and 159 teeth had active decay. The volunteers also met with parents, instructing them on proper oral hygiene, healthy dietary choices, benefits of fluoridated water for their children’s teeth, and need for regular dental check-ups.

“We want to help families experience a caring dental visit and learn about the connection of oral health to overall health,” said Dr. Linda Jackson, Director of Carris Health Dental Clinic. “Prevention of early cavities and oral disease will produce positive outcomes for life.”

According to the ADA, more than 181 million Americans won’t visit a dentist this year, even though nearly half of people over 30 suffer from some form of gum disease. Nearly one in four children under five already has cavities and approximately a quarter of the children in the U.S. do not have dental insurance, either private or public.

Give Kids A Smile is held annually to:

  • Provide free, easily accessible dental services for children from qualifying families.
  • Raise awareness of the epidemic of untreated dental disease occurring both locally and nationally.
  • Create local public and private partnerships to increase access to oral health care.
  • Teach parents the importance of establishing a dental home for their child within six months of their first tooth.

About Carris Health Dental Clinic
Carris Health Dental Clinic is located on the campus of Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar. It opened in December 2007, and serves patients from a 17-county area in West Central and Southwest Minnesota. The dental clinic is the result of a major collaborative effort between Rice Memorial Hospital and the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry in the Twin Cities.

About Give Kids a Smile
The American Dental Association started the Give Kids A Smile program in 2003 as a way for dentists to join with others in the community to provide dental services to underserved children. Dentists and other team members volunteer their time, and services, to provide screenings, treatments and education to children throughout the United States. Each year, approximately 400,000 children benefit from more than 1500 events, all because of the efforts of 40,000 or more annual volunteers.

For more information about Give Kids A Smile events, visit To learn more about proposed solutions to the dental crisis, visit and