Special Smiles for the Special Olympics

Photo 1Each year, we can count on one event to bring special smiles to the faces of participants and volunteers alike – the Special Smiles Program of the Special Olympics.

The University of Florida College of Dentistry brought a robust contingent to the event this year with a total of 32 volunteers on hand to help screen and educate participants about in the 2014 Special Olympics Florida State Basketball Games, held on Feb. 22 at the UF Florida Gymnasium.

Edna Perez, D.M.D., a clinical assistant professor in the UF Department of Pediatric Dentistry, served as the clinical director for the event. She was joined by Leda Mugayar, D.D.S., who is also a clinical director for Special Smiles and a clinical associate professor in the UF Department of Pediatric Dentistry, and 22 dental students, two dental assistants and seven additional volunteers. In addition, athletes from UF volunteered to handle registration for the event.

“The event was great and all of the volunteers were so helpful. Some of the UF football players and cheerleaders even attended the event and cheered on the Special Olympics athletes,” Perez said.Photo 9

Together, this group screened 69 Special Olympics athletes, applied fluoride for 41 athletes, distributed 41 mouthguards and provided 28 referrals for additional oral care.

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.