RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - They say a smile makes a great first impression.
VCU dentistry is working to make sure every child who walks through their doors leaves with a winning one.
The university will help kids smile a little brighter on Feb. 1, with free dental care for children who do not have dental insurance.
It’s called Give Kids a Smile Day, and it’s happening to focus on National Children’s Dental Health Month.
For Give Kids a Smile Day, pediatric dental specialists will give exams, cleanings, X-rays, fillings extractions and minor restorations to children up to 18 years old.
The event will be from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Lyons Dental Building at 520 North 12th Street.
All you have to do is show up, although VCU has been taking reservations in advance.
“We won’t leave until everybody is seen—at least triaged and gotten some work done and the cool thing is if we aren’t able to get everybody in, we have outside providers who will volunteer to take those children on as patients,” Dr. Tiffany Williams said.
Kimberly Hill and her four children have gone to VCU’s annual event for years.
“Everyone is very polite, kind, makes sure they feel comfortable while they’re here,” Hill said.
The dentists work through kids' fears—hand holding and teddy bears are welcome. Hill doesn’t take the money she’s saved for granted.
“It has been up to one thousand per kid on some instances,” she said.
Damiel Wright’s kids got work done at VCU dentistry for the first time today. The family saved $600 just by showing up.
“We’ll come back next year… and save more money,” he said.
VCU had more than 150 prescheduled appointments and the waiting room was overflowing with patients not even an hour into the event.
“I always book it in advance so we can get in,” Hill said.
The procedures aren’t always as simple as a cleaning. Some kids are getting minor restorations or extractions. Despite the event finishing up at 3 p.m., doctors say they’ve never turned a child away.
“We won’t leave until everybody is seen—at least triaged and gotten some work done and the cool thing is if we aren’t able to get everybody in, we have outside providers who will volunteer to take those children on as patients.”
During the event last year, 130 patients were seen and nearly $59,000 worth of dental care was given.
Doctors say they see some of the same kids every year. Some have even grown up to become long-term patients.
Those patients are guaranteed to walk away beaming.