Free dental care and vision screenings available at the 2019 'Give Kids a Smile Day' March 1 .




Give Kids A Smile

February 06, 2019

Free dental care and vision screenings available at the 2019 ‘Give Kids a Smile Day’ March 1

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. – The annual “Give Kids A Smile Day” at Southern Illinois University has an additional purpose this year – free vision screenings.

The March 1 event is provided by the university’s Dental Hygiene Program. The event is from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the SIU Carbondale Community Dental Center, which is west of the SIU Arena.

Free dental care open for children from infants to 14 years old

The free dental care is for children who do not receive regular dental treatment and who do not have regular access to dental care.

In its 17th year, the program, which began in 2003 with about 50 children participating over two days, has grown to an average of about 240 children each of the past nine years.

Wide array of services provided

Participating children will receive dental examinations, x-rays, cleanings, fluoride treatments, sealants and fillings, or simple extractions under special circumstances. The program also works to find a “dental home” for patients if there is a need for additional treatment.

Vision screenings added for 2019

For the first time, children from six months to six years old can participate in free vision screenings being offered by the Carbondale Lions Club.

“This will be an amazing addition to the program,” she said.


Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and camera crews are welcome to cover the event at the SIU Carbondale Community Dental Center. For more information, contact Jennifer M. Meyer, assistant instructor and “Give Kids a Smile Day” coordinator, at 618/453-8826 or by email at


Registration is open; appointments are preferred

Children can register for either the dental screening, vision screenings or both. While children can register the day of the event, appointments are preferred. To make an appointment, call the center at 618/453-8826 and specify the visit is for “Give Kids a Smile Day.”

Approximately 100 students and 16 faculty from the dental hygiene program, along with volunteer dentists and hygienists, will provide the free care.

Pediatric Dentistry guidelines show infants benefit

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry guidelines suggest that infants should visit a dentist when their teeth begin to emerge.

The dental hygiene program provides the service in conjunction with the Southern Illinois Dental Hygienists’ Society, Saluki Athletics and the Southern Illinois Dental Society. The program is in the School of Allied Health, which is within the College of Applied Sciences and Arts.