Students offer gift of dental care this holiday season


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Giving through service is the focus this weekend for more than a dozen senior dental students and several faculty from the University of Louisville School of Dentistry. On Dec. 6 and 7, the team will provide free dental care to rural Kentuckians in Knott County as part of the Remote Area Medical (RAM) project.

    During the weekend, UofL dental students are expected to treat hundreds of patients at the Knott County Sportsplex by providing cleanings, fillings and extractions. More extensive problems are referred for follow-up.

    “During these tough economic times, it’s important that we continue to serve those with the greatest oral health needs,” said Lee Mayer, director of community dental health for the UofL School of Dentistry.

    Mayer cited a number of factors that can lead to poor dental health in rural Kentucky, including lack of dental insurance, a shortage of dentists in rural areas, non-fluoridated water supplies, smoking and other tobacco use.

    “Community service is an important aspect of the learning experience for our students. It provides an opportunity for students to gain an understanding of oral health care issues and barriers to care,” said dental school dean John Sauk.

    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.