Each year, the first Friday in February is known as Give Kids a Smile Day, an event started by Dr. Jeff Dalin and Dr. B. Ray Storm in 2002. The St. Louis dentists wanted to give back to their community by providing free dental care to area children in need. The event was a success, and 400 kids were treated.
In 2003, Give Kids a Smile partnered with the American Dental Association (ADA) to help raise national awareness on the importance of oral health. Today, the event is an integral part of the ADA’s Action for Dental Health program, which focuses on addressing the nation’s dental health crisis. Give Kids a Smile events are offered during the week of February 4 through February 11th this year.
Each year, millions of children go without care. Since 2002, Give Kids a Smile has provided free dental care and education to 5.5 million underserved children through the help of more than 137,000 dentists and 420,000 volunteers, including dental students and instructors from Fortis Colleges & Institutes who serve their local communities.
A Career that Makes You Smile
Many of our graduates say they entered the dental field to help children and adults care for their smiles. Amanda D, a dental hygienist, says she always wanted to go into dental hygiene. After high school, she stared working in a dentist’s office and eventually enrolled in the dental hygienist program at Fortis Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“I work for a general dentist office in Evanston, Wyoming three days a week as a dental hygienist,” she says. “I love helping people be happy with their smiles. I make the patient feel comfortable because the dentist office isn't always the most comfortable place to be for most people.
Helping others is what led Dana H., a dental assisting graduate from Fortis’s Cincinnati, Ohio campus, into the field, too. “The work that I do is enjoyable,” she says. “I can help people feel more comfortable in the dental setting, get them through tough procedures, and help the doctor. I'm part of a team.”
Mary W., a graduate of Fortis College in Landover, Maryland, went into the field after working as a waitress. “I am a dental assistant in a dental office,” she says. “I encourage my patients to have better oral health.”
And Jamie S., a dental assisting graduate from Pensacola, Florida, shares that his passion for helping patients improve their smiles led to him working for an orthodontist. “Every time you do an adjustment on a patient you get to reassure them that this is just a next step to something more positive,” he says. “I've seen people get into braces who never smile or show their teeth. And I have taken braces off of those same people who can't stop smiling.”
Start Your Dental Career
If you want to help kids smile, too, learn more about a career in the important field of dentistry. Schedule a tour at one of our campuses, visit the Dental page on the Fortis website, or call (855) 436-7847 for more information.