A decade of laughter and sharing smiles

Five third-year Schulich Dentistry students, Amr Alsabbagh, Brittany Davies, Marcia Llacuachaqui, Rachel Zilioto and Mohamad Abu Sharkh, have worked all year to prepare for Sharing Smiles Day.

Sharing Smiles Day, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2019, is an informative day where the barriers between dental students and persons with special needs are removed and positive relationships fostered.

The fun-filled day consists of a carnival morning of games and a lunch, followed by dental demonstrations and hands-on activities to help educate participants on proper oral care. The instruction is provided one-to-one to the participants by licensed dentists and dental students.

“Sharing Smiles Day helps bring awareness to the lack of access to oral care that persons with special needs face and the importance of oral health care as it relates to one’s overall health and quality of life,” said Davies.

The hope is that student volunteers leave Sharing Smiles Day with a newfound sense of understanding, confidence and comfort with interacting with persons with special needs.

"It’s important for students to be involved in community outreach because it promotes trust and a sense of inclusiveness within the community,” said Llacuachaqui. “Participating in events like this allows students to reach out to people who might otherwise be marginalized and to better prepare us to treat them as future health care professionals."

Special guests included Michelle Paonessa, representative from Community Living London; Dr. Mithu Sen, representing the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry; Dr. David Stevenson, the President of the Ontario Dental Association and Dr. Ali Sigal, the founder of Oral Health, Total Health. The day included nearly 100 volunteers from Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and Fanshawe College.

View photos of all the participants and Volunteers involved with Sharing Smiles Day.