Sharing Smiles Day tomorrow
Friday, April 4, 2014
Dentists and dental students from Western University's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry will be partnering with Community Living London and the organization 'Oral Health, Total Health' for the fifth annual Sharing Smiles Day on Saturday, April 5th at the Great Hall in Somerville House, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Three Schulich Dentistry students, Natasha Bhalla, Jonathan Sanderson and Kim Stevens, have worked all year to prepare for this event. The fun-filled day consists of a carnival morning of games and a luncheon, followed by dental demonstrations and hands-on activities to help educate participants on proper oral care. This is a chance for participants to receive instruction from licensed dentists and one-on-one care from the dental students. This year's event is expected to be the biggest one yet. "Last year we had around 70 participants and this year we are expecting about 120," Sanderson said.
Dental care is one of the top unmet health needs for persons with special needs. The event hopes to breakdown attitudinal barriers between dental students and patients with special needs to foster positive relationships. Bhalla said, "By breaking down these barriers it makes the patients more comfortable going in to see a dentist."
"Participants in the past were once in fear of going to the dentist and now they actually have fillings done," Stevens explained. "Oral health care prevention is number one and that's a step that is being missed. So if we can at least get a preventative step such as proper brushing out there, it can minimize the more extensive work that would need to be done by a dentist."
Special guests include Dr. Thomas Mara, Division of Oral Medicine and Radiology Chair, Michelle Palmer, Executive Director of Community Living London and nearly 100 volunteers from Western University and Fanshawe College.