Florence-Darlington Techincal College offering day of free dental care for kids

Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 6:07 PM EST
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FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) - February is National Children’s Oral Health Month, and students and staff at Florence-Darlington Technical College’s Dental Clinic are gearing up to see children from the community.

The Little Smiles event taking place on Feb. 21 will allow children to receive free dental care, including assessments, cleanings and X-rays. The event will take lace that day from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the school’s health sciences campus on West Cheve Street.

Dental hygiene program director Alicia Johnston says the clinic prioritizes teaching students to give back.

“It’s a great opportunity for our students to learn about providing community service and teaching them that being a community servant is part of the dental hygiene career,” said Johnston.

This is the first time this typically annual event will occur since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and students and staff are excited to take part.

“We have been really focusing on being prepared for the children coming in proper ways of speaking with small children to get down on their level,” said student Rachel Maxwell.

Typically, the clinic sees around 30 patients per day, but Johnston says this event has the capacity for up to 120 children. All faculty, staff and students will be working that day.

“This year, we have already seen a really high number of appointments being made,” said Johnston. “We may need to extend this and do an additional day. That way we make sure everyone who needs to be seen is able to be seen.”

Johnston added that this will not only help the students practice what they’ve been learning, but will also serve a large need for dental care in the community.

“What we are seeing is a lot of waitlists to be seen, or transportation issues or missing school issues,” she said.

Students and staff also hope this event will teach children that the dentist is not a place to be scared of.

Maxwell said she hopes to give children “a happy, positive environment so that they don’t feel that they need to be in fear of going to the dentist in the future.”

Johnston added the clinic is scheduled for a week when Florence School District One does not have school, so students will not have to miss class to receive care.

FDTC said appointments will be required for the Little Smiles event and can be made by calling (843) 661-8224.

Click here for more information.