A Million Dollar Smile


    LOUISVILLE, KY — Friday, February 3, Smile Kentucky! will mark 10 years of community service in providing free dental education, screenings and treatment to children in Louisville Metro and surrounding counties. As over 200 children receive free dental treatment at the UofL School of Dentistry on February 3, the program will surpass $1 million dollars in free dentistry since 2002.

    Smile Kentucky! is an example of a community partnership making a difference. What began as an idea to address tooth decay has grown into a state-wide dental education program and an avenue in providing access to dental care.

    Smile Kentucky! was created in 2002 by Louisville Water, Louisville Dental Society, UofL School of Dentistry, Colgate, Sullivan Schein Dental, Northwest Area Health Education Center and Bullitt County Health Department. The program has grown to include over 20 agencies on the steering committee and over 150 groups providing time, materials and funding.

    Since the program began, over 127,000 students in 143 schools and 11 counties have received classroom dental education programs, 35,000 have received a free dental screening at school and after the 2012 treatment day, over 3,000 children will have received free treatment.

    “It’s a wonderful program,” said Arleta Watkins with Bullitt County Schools. “I’ve had children who’ve never had a dental exam before. They get that service for free.”

    The American Dental Association calls Smile Kentucky! a model for community partnerships. Smile Kentucky! complements a national program, “Give Kids a Smile.”

    Julie Heflin
    Julie oversees digital content for the Office of Communications and Marketing. She began her UofL career on the Health Sciences Center campus in 2007. Prior to this, Julie was a journalist with WFPL (Louisville Public Media), and occasionally filed reports for National Public Radio.