Dr. Stephen Giovanisci has operated out of his office in Montrose Plaza for 23 years. That much time in one community will certainly gain any dentist their share of regular patients, but on Feb. 4, Dr. Giovanisci treated 13 new patients. This was the fifth time in as many years that he’d done this, for the annual Give Kids A Smile Day.
Sponsored by the American Dental Association, the first Friday in February has been Give Kids A Smile day and has gained the participation of over 12,000 dentists this year alone, treating almost 400,000 children. Thirty-three dentists in the Glendale area, including Dr. Giovanisci, have lent their abilities to this effort to give free oral health care services to children from low income families or families without dental insurance – children who need these services more than anyone.
In conjunction with the efforts of dentists like Dr. Giovanisci and the American Dental Association, Glendale Healthy Kids, an organization made up of the combined efforts of several Glendale area hospitals and the Glendale Unified School District, has sent forms throughout the district, informing parents about Give Kids A Smile Day.
Donna Reindorp, whose two sons Miles and Stephen saw Dr. Giovanisci on Give Kids A Smile Day found out about the event through information received at Lincoln Elementary School.
“It’s not our first year doing this,” Reindorp said. “We would not have ended up with the caliber of physicians we’ve had if not for Glendale Healthy Kids.”
In addition to Give Kids A Smile Day, Glendale Healthy Kids has started a new program called “Every Day is Give Kids A Smile Day.”
Glendale Healthy Kids Executive Director Camille Levee notes that this program “runs throughout the year, providing free dental exams, cleanings, and fluoride or sealant treatments. This
allows all of our dentists to participate at a time convenient to them, not just one Friday a year.”
It appears that programs like Every Day is Give Kids A Smile Day, and a similar 2009 program from the American Dental Association, Give Kids A Smile – More Than A Day, are needed because one day is not enough.
“Fifty percent of children who see the dentists [on Give Kids A Smile Day] need additional treatments,” Levee said and Dr. Giovanisci added, “This is the only dental checkup some of these kids get. But with a new child coming in every half hour, there’s not enough time for
full treatments. Any decay has to be treated in subsequent visits.”
However, Give Kids A Smile Day still serves as a strong step towards getting health treatment for all who deserve it.