Providing new smiles for Kentucky children


    Teaching children about proper oral health, eliminating tooth pain and providing new smiles are benefits of the Smile Kentucky! program, a community partnership that tackles what the U.S. Surgeon General has called the number one common, chronic childhood disease – tooth decay.

    On February 6, University of Louisville School of Dentistry students and faculty along with other community dental health providers offered free, comprehensive dental treatment to more than 100 children from 16 schools in Bullitt, Meade, Nelson, Shelby and Spencer Counties. Treatment day corresponds with the American Dental Association’s National Give Kids a Smile Day.UofL alumni Robert McDade, DMD, and Darren Greenwell, DMD, opened their practices to Bullitt County children, with about a dozen kids treated at each office.

    Greenwell has participated in Smile Kentucky for about six years, providing dental screenings at elementary schools and treatment in his practice located near Bullitt County.

    ’It’s a way to reach the kids in our community that fall between the gap of insurance and Medicaid,” Greenwell said. “My hope is to see the program expand to other communities in the state.”

    This is the second year Greenwell’s associate, Kayla Albright, DMD, has participated in Smile Kentucky! In 2014, she provided treatment at the dental school as a fourth year student.

    “I received an excellent education at the School of Dentistry with a strong, diverse clinical background and it’s a privilege to now give back to the community as a dentist,” Albright said.

    UofL alumnus and Louisville Dental Society President, Randy Ransdell, DMD, also joined Albright and her team in providing a variety of dental care including x-rays, exams, cleanings, fluoride treatment, extractions, and fillings.

    Established in 2002, Smile Kentucky! is considered a national model for community partnerships. Since its inception, more than 158,000 children have taken part in education programs, 43,000 have received a free dental screening, and 3,500 have received free dental treatment valued at $1.27 million.

    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.