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Volunteering at Give Kids a Smile!

February 9, 2011

Image Courtesy of, taken by Lon Horwedel

I attended the Give Kids A Smile event at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry as an undergrad, dental school hopeful. I am a part of the Undergraduate Student National Dental Association (USNDA), a pre-dental organization aimed at increasing the number of minority students in dental schools and exposing students to the field of dentistry. We learned about the event and wanted to volunteer.

The event started bright and early Saturday morning. There was a great turn out of kids who came. In the waiting room, there were tables set up with tooth brushes and food props teaching kids how to properly brush their teeth and teaching them the food pyramid. Our initial job was to direct the families whose children were going to have their smiles brightened with dental work up to the clinic. As the number of people coming in to the dental school began to die down, I decided I wanted to get in on some of the action. One of the coordinators of the event let us put on white coats and go into the clinic to shadow the dental students at work. Putting on the white coat was a defining moment for me!

Once in the clinic I jumped right in, excited for the opportunity to learn and shadow the students; and to also see how they were going to handle the kids! I was able to see a girl around the age of 12 with braces getting a check-up and cleaning. It was interesting because I never saw before how flossing is done with braces, a difficult task I must say. I also saw three smaller children having dental caries filled with composite. One child had three teeth worked on. Most of the children behaved pretty well while getting work done, but of course, there was a screamer. However, the dental students handled it very well and it was great for me to see them in action. Observing the students made me even more anxious to one day fill their shoes. I had an enriching experience during Give Kids A Smile and would love to participate next year

Miquala B. is a member of the University of Michigan Class of 2011 and the treasurer of the UM Chapter of the Undergraduate Student National Dental Association and a prospective dental student.


One Comment
  1. Jessica Schwarz permalink
    February 10, 2011 1:15 am

    Thank you for sharing your experience at “Give Kids a Smile Day”. It sounds like you took away many memories that you can learn from in the future. Great Post!!

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