Giving Kids a Smile

GKAS helps support improved dental care—probably the most common unmet health need in American children.

Poor oral health can have a significant impact on a child’s overall health, yet research suggests that dental care is the most common unmet health need in American children. Give Kids a Smile (GKAS) began at Pitt Dental in 2003 to provide uninsured children and adolescents with preventive and restorative care during a 2-day event. Treatments are provided by University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine faculty, resident and student volunteers in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry and the Dental Hygiene program and include cleanings, x-rays, extractions and restorations and fillings, as well as more advanced treatments that require anesthesia. All children are treated regardless of their family’s ability to pay. Many families return for these events each year—some from neighboring states. This year’s Pitt Dental GKAS theme is the Little Mermaid and included a dental student as Ariel, herself. It took place on February 16, and day two will be on March 16.