The Nassau County Dental Society has announced that it will hold its annual Give Kids A Smile event at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, New York on February 10, 2023. This will be the society’s 20th year of providing dental exams, oral hygiene instruction, nutritional counseling, fluoride treatments, and sealants to the underserved children in Nassau County. Children identified as having acute dental issues will have their teachers and parents notified and will have treatment coordinated at a later date in local dental clinics and practices. In addition, the Lions Club of Long Beach will be on hand to provide eye exams. All of this is done free of charge by the Nassau County Dental Society’s 350 volunteers that day. This year is gearing up a to be the largest event ever with over 1800 children registered for the event from local schools, making it one of the largest public health events in Nassau County as well as one of the largest GKAS events in the entire country.
In addition to being able to tour the museum, a DJ will be on hand to entertain the children along with costumed characters, including Mr. Met from the NY Mets organization. For many of these children, it is their first dental experience, so the organizers go out of their way to make it a memorable and enjoyable one. In fact, a few years ago, a young dentist wishing to volunteer for the event mentioned that she had attended one of the earlier events when she was a child. The experience was influential and is one of the main reasons she chose dentistry as a career. The society’s event changed her life, as it can do for many of the children in Nassau County by avoiding and alleviating dental pain.
Toothaches are the leading cause of missed school days. One in seven children aged 6 to 12 suffered from toothache pain in the last 6 months. Nationwide, children miss over 51 million hours of school time each year because of dental issues. One study showed that, on average, children experience 17.7 days of pain before they are seen by an emergency dentist or taken to an ER. This also causes their schoolwork to suffer because they are distracted by the pain. The Nassau County Dental Society’s program aims to correct this problem.
Because of the pandemic, the event has not been held at the museum since February 2020. Instead, it was reimagined as virtual instruction along with mini events in one school. However, the society is excited to announce that the event will be back at The Cradle of Aviation Museum this year to help as many children as possible.
The children usually begin arriving around 9:00am and the event is usually over by 1:30pm.
To view highlights from the 2020 event, click here. To make a donation or volunteer for the 2023 event, visit the event website here.