Slots limited for annual free children's dental clinic at San Juan College

Give Kids a Smile event will take place for 18th year

The Daily Times staff
Eight-year-old Zaiden Valdez has his teeth worked on by San Juan College students Arely Tarango, left, Brooke Ramirez, center, and Valeria Maldonado during the college's 2019 Give Kids a Smile Day clinic.

FARMINGTON — Although the number of children who participate will be reduced this year, the annual Give Kids a Smile Day free dental clinic will take place at San Juan College next week despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students in the college's dental hygiene program will join local dental-care professionals to provide free dental care to economically disadvantaged children ages 5 to 12 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 5 at the college's Farmington campus. Because of the pandemic, the free clinic will be limited to the first 30 children who are registered for the event.

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"Along with numerous community dentists, hygienists, students and faculty from the dental hygiene program, the public schools, the Farmington Boys & Girls Clubs, United Way, Subway and many others have generously joined in the effort to make this a true community event," Dr. Julius Manz, director of San Juan College's dental hygiene program, stated in a press release. "Give Kids a Smile Day provides an opportunity for area dentists and college students to give back to the children in the community."

Dr. Aleksey Kozlov of KidsKare P.C. reviews the results of 12-year-old Fabianna Scott's dental exam during the 2019 Give Kids a Smile Day clinic at San Juan College.

Students in the college's dental hygiene program will provide patients with oral hygiene education, X-rays, cleanings and fluoride, according to the press release, while dentists from throughout the community will provide oral examinations and dental treatment. Orthodontists, endodontists and oral surgeons from the community also have agreed to accept pro bono referrals from the clinic, the press release states.

The clinic, which is in its 18th year, is open to economically disadvantaged children from throughout San Juan County. In the past, it has provided more than $50,000 worth of dental work in a single day, according to The Daily Times archives, thanks to the participation of several dozen students, faculty members and dental health professionals.

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The clinic is sponsored locally by the Northwest District Dental Society. The event is sponsored nationally by the American Dental Association.

Parents can make an appointment for their children by calling the college's dental hygiene program at 505-566-3126. Walk-in patients will not be seen, and children must be accompanied at the clinic by a parent or guardian.