Blinn’s Dental Hygiene Program providing free dental exams and cleanings at annual Give Kids a Smile event

Blinn students partner with dental professionals to provide free exams, x-rays, cleanings, sealants, and education for children in kindergarten through fifth grade

Blinn students partner with dental professionals to provide free exams, x-rays, cleanings, sealants, and education for children in kindergarten through fifth grade

April 5, 2019

For the 11th consecutive year, Blinn College dental hygiene students are brightening smiles across the Brazos Valley.

Students and dental professionals will volunteer their time and expertise from 5-8 p.m. Thursday, April 11, to provide free dental exams, x-rays, dental cleanings, sealants, and oral health education for children in kindergarten through fifth grade. Hosted at Blinn’s Post Office Campus at 301 Post Office Street in Bryan, the Give Kids a Smile event is an initiative of the American Dental Association and provides free dental services to local children without access to regular dental care.

Blinn Associate Degree Nursing and Vocational Nursing students will be on hand to offer blood pressure, cholesterol, hemoglobin A1C, and glucose checks for adults, and Blinn’s Emergency Medical Services and Fire Science programs will provide ambulance and fire truck tours.

Parents and guardians can schedule appointments for their children by calling 979-209-7485. Spanish-speaking personnel can assist with scheduling and will be available the day of the event. Registration is limited and reserved for children who do not typically receive regular dental care.

Last year, 29 Blinn Dental Hygiene students teamed with approximately 30 local dentists, hygienists, assistants, office managers, and Blinn faculty to provide free dental services to almost 100 children at the 10th annual Give Kids a Smile event.

“Give Kids a Smile helps so many people in this community,” said Dana Wood, Dental Hygiene Instructor. “Participants are given quality preventative care, and are connected with local dentists for further treatment. This is not only a wonderful resource for people who do not have access to proper dental care, but gives our students the opportunity to serve their community.”

The Blinn Dental Hygiene Program provided approximately $25,000 in services during this year’s event, which included preventative care, sponsorships, and donated supplies from local dentists and businesses. Since the inaugural program in 2008, Give Kids a Smile has provided almost $200,000 in preventative care.

The Brazos Valley Dental Society, Brazos Valley Dental Hygiene Society, the Bryan and College Station school districts, and local dental professionals have been instrumental in making the event a success. Several local dentists volunteer at the event and offer restorative treatments at no cost to the family.

In addition to the dental services, students educate children and their parents on proper oral care, including how and when to brush their teeth and the importance of regular dental visits.

“It is very fulfilling to be able to help the many families in need of dental care in this community,” said Bethany Long, a second-year dental hygiene student. “My classmates, instructors, and I are very passionate about Give Kids a Smile, and it is amazing to see the amount of support the program receives from the community each year.”

Blinn’s Dental Hygiene Program is accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation. Students who complete the two-year program earn an Associate of Applied Science degree and are eligible to apply to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination and regional/state clinical board examination.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, dental hygienists earn a median salary of $74,070 per year, and employment is expected to increase 20 percent between 2016 and 2026, creating 40,900 additional jobs nation-wide.

For more information, visit www.blinn.edu/dental-hygiene

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