MSU’s free dental care event for kids

Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Dental Education Program is offering free dental care to children today as a part of the Give Kids a Smile state-wide annual event. 

Each year dental professionals from across the state participate in the Give Kids a Smile event, which typically happens the first week of February. 

Providing free dental care to children in need, some of the services they provide range anywhere from cleanings, x-rays, and exams. All of these services, among others, will be available with no cost to those patients. 

“It’s a really great event to provide care for those children that might otherwise not receive it due to financial situation, so this is our way of trying to give back to the community,” Brigette Cooper, Chair and Professor in the Department of Dental Education, stated.

The dental hygiene program at MSU has been participating in Give Kids a Smile since 2004.

“We have a lot of repeat patients since we’ve been doing this for so long during the first week of February. We also advertise on social media and put out flyers around the elementary schools,” Cooper said.

MSU’s Department of Dental Education and Dental Hygiene Program are part of the University’s College of Allied Health and Nursing.

The free event is made possible by donations from Henry Schein Inc. and MSU’s Dental Department.  

As of Tuesday, MSU’s clinic had 75 patients who booked appointments for today’s services. The clinic is open for patients from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“Give Kids a Smile is by far my favorite event, especially for those who may not have any dental experience before,” Karmen Hazen, Senior Class President of the dental hygiene program, shared.

MSU seniors who are a part of the dental hygiene program are now into their third semester conducting clinicals with a variety of patients.

“Dental hygiene has always been a part of my plan ever since I was a little kid. My hygienist was so awesome and I just fell in love with it,” Hazen said.

Equipped with 24 dental chairs, students are able to have hands-on experiences with patients, and this is a valued learning opportunity at MSU.

“I really enjoy all of us coming together and learning from each other at the MSU community clinic. I see myself doing community health, which is similar to what the MSU clinic is after I graduate,” Hazen explained. “I really want to make an impact as much as I can and support the offices that might be understaffed right now and help people is something I am passionate about.”

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