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John Bair
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Patients with Special Needs Treated as Part of Give Kids a Smile Day

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I am so proud to see the efforts in my hometown to welcome and include people with special needs in yet another important way.

The University of Buffalo’s School of Dental Medicine is the only university in the nation to treat patients with special needs as a part of Give Kids a Smile Day. This year, dozens of students with special needs joined hundreds of Buffalo high school students at the annual event, which aims to promote good dental health habits in young people.

Give Kids a Smile Day volunteers pose for a picture. Photo from buffalo.edu.

Give Kids a Smile Day volunteers pose for a picture. Photo from “Give Kids a Smile Day welcome pirates, tykes and teens” on buffalo.edu.

The UB School of Dental Medicine has made inspirational, year-round strides to strengthen its commitment of care toward the whole population. The introduction of care to students with special needs is another way they’re reaching that goal. The school has even partnered with Steven Perlman, founder of the Special Olympics Special Smiles program, to pilot courses and training programs for dental students about treating patients with special needs.

“This is Give Kids a Smile Day unified,” said M. Dian ChinKit-Wells, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Pediatric and Community Dentistry, who oversees the event. “It’s not just for children and young adults without special needs. It’s for everybody.”

Give Kids a Smile Day, held in partnership with the American Dental Association, New York State Dental Association, and the 8th District Dental Society, is part of a national effort to help people avoid oral health problems through education about good dental hygiene habits. UB has treated nearly 10,000 children since the program began in 2001.

Congratulations to the UB School of Dental Medicine, the American Dental Association, New York State Dental Association, and the 8th District Dental Society for pioneering important community efforts to help people with special needs live their best lives.