The Saving, Maintaining, and Retaining Their Smiles or “SMART” Smiles program provides oral health education and preventative care to underserved, school-aged children, while helping to create a positive dental environment and implement a referral system for necessary dental treatment. SMART Smiles is a community-led project attracting local dental professionals, service organizations, local and state agencies, and other interested volunteers who want to be part of a rewarding program that makes a positive difference in the lives of hundreds of elementary children. The children in need of urgent dental care are referred to a local pediatric dentist for treatment at no charge.
Because a child’s smile is worth saving.
Jennifer Banton, RDH
SMART Smiles was the heart and vision of long-time volunteer and TDASF Access Committee Chair, Jennifer Banton, RDH. Mrs. Banton piloted the program in Burnet County ISD in 2013, providing 230 children with over $84,000 worth of dental care. In late 2014, the program was officially adopted into the TDASF family of charitable dental care programs.
Mrs Banton was selected as one of KVUE’s 5 “Who Care” winners for her amazing work with SMART Smiles.
On Screening Day, students who have obtained consent from their parents or legal guardians for dental treatment are screened by a volunteer dentist. They receive a ‘dental report card’ that explains what areas of concern the dentist found and what preventive treatment the child will receive.
On Treatment Day, students are called by class to the treatment room. Here they meet their hygienist and receive a preventive dental cleaning, necessary dental sealants, and an application of fluoride varnish. The combination of these procedures helps to prevent decay. The ‘treatment completed’ form is then sent home to let parents know what care was provided to their child.
FOLLOW UP CARE
For children requiring additional dental care, we will work with local dentists to give students and parents referrals to providers. A small treatment fund may be available to help children who cannot afford treatment.
Elementary and middle schools with at least 55% of their students on a free/reduced lunch program are eligible for the SMART Smiles Program. Schools districts interested in the program must also raise local community support (financial and volunteer).
The duration of the program is 3 days. Consent forms are first sent home with students. Then a screening exam is scheduled to determine areas of concern followed by treatment a week later.
If your school would like to be considered for a SMART Smiles event, please contact Jennifer Banton.