The New York City Council, led by Speaker Gifford Miller, has awarded
a grant to NYUCD to enable the Smiling Faces, Going Places
mobile dental van program to provide additional care each week to
needy youngsters throughout New York City. Since the Smiling
Faces, Going Places van is out every weekday during school hours,
the additional care is being provided after school on selected days.
As a result, many more New York City youngsters are receiving comprehensive
pediatric oral health care.
"Every child in this city should have access to proper dental care,”
said Speaker Miller. “NYU’s mobile dental care program and others
like it enable more and more children to access this critical care
that otherwise would be out of reach.”
The need for dental care is especially acute among impoverished
children, who have 60 percent more untreated cavities than their
peers at higher socioeconomic levels. Since it was launched in early
2000, the van’s dental team has provided over 10,000 visits to more
than 5,000 children in areas with limited access to oral health
care. Youngsters receive oral health instruction, sealants, prophylaxis/fluoride
treatments, radiographs, amalgam restorations, resin restorations,
pulpotomies, crowns, space maintainers, extractions, and mouth guards.
Eighty percent of the children have no dental coverage and are
treated free of charge. The children range in age from 2 to 14 and
are primarily African American, Hispanic, Haitian, Russian, and
Asian. In addition to providing care for needy youngsters, the Smiling
Faces, Going Places van also serves as a mobile site for facilitated
enrollment in Child Health Plus and the regular Medicaid program.
and the Councilmembers are to be congratulated for recognizing
that oral care is not just about teeth — it’s an important way
to identify and treat malnutrition and other serious health problems,
as well as to increase the self-esteem and confidence of youngsters
who suffer from unattractive teeth and smiles,” said Associate
Dean for Clinical Affairs Dr. Francis V. Panno, who has oversight
responsibility for the van program.