College of Dentistry delivers smiles to the Special Olympics

On March 16, a group of volunteers from the University of Florida College of Dentistry delivered oral health screenings, education and smiles to the participants in the Special Olympics Event in Jasper, Fla., at Hamilton County High School.

The volunteers included D.M.D. students, two pediatric dental residents, three pediatric dental assistants, two faculty members, plus Dr. Alicia Moore, a local dentist, and a Brazilian dental student currently completing an internship at the college.

The group performed oral health screenings on 69 athletes, referred 28 for additional care, completed 41 fluoride applications, and distributed 41 mouthguards as part of the Special Smiles program of the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes initiative. In addition, the volunteers instructed athletes on proper oral care techniques.

“We had a great turnout and a wonderful time. The athletes were fun to work with and there was so much support from everyone at the event for the work we were doing,” said Edna Perez, D.M.D., a clinical assistant professor in the UF Department of Pediatric Dentistry. “Jennifer Miller, who works with the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes program, and her sister, Melissa Miller, were incredibly helpful in making our day a success.”

The mission of Special Smiles (at the Special Olympics) is to increase access to dental care for Special Olympics Florida athletes, as well as all people with intellectual disabilities.

For another story about the dental care delivered, visit the WUFT News site