Free Dental Program for Kids Brings Good News in Bad Times

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STATE—The New Jersey Dental Association (NJDA), in cooperation with the New Jersey Dental Hygienists’ Association, the New Jersey Dental Assistants’ Association and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-New Jersey Dental School (UMDNJ) will be hosting the 7th Annual Give Kids A Smile Program on Friday, Feb. 6, 2009 at more than 70 locations across the state.

On this day, children ages 12 and under will receive free dental care at any of the participating locations. The program targets children who otherwise do not have regular access to dental care. A list of participating locations can be found at www.njda.org/gkas, along with other important information about the program.

The signs of the economic times are telling. Record numbers are posted nearly every month for jobless rates and home foreclosures, and entire industries are falling into ruin. With so many experiencing such hard times and some families opting to forgo necessary doctor visits due to tight budgets,  it’s good to know that the 100 percent free Give Kids A Smile program is still going strong and more than 1,000 volunteer dental professionals are gearing up for what could be their busiest year ever.

“With the economy in crisis, a family’s healthcare problems are exacerbated,” says Dr. Cavan Brundsen, an Old Bridge pediatric dentist and the statewide chair of Give Kids A Smile. “We understand that many more families will be needing this program this year and our volunteers are prepared to deliver the care.”

New Jersey runs one of the most successful Give Kids A Smile programs in the country. Since its inception in 2003, the New Jersey program has seen more than 13,000 children and delivered more than $2.3 million is free dental care. The UMDNJ location in Newark is one of the largest sites in the country, seeing nearly 1,000 children on this one day. For 2009, 19 of New Jersey’s 21 counties are represented with at least one participating site.

Local sites participating include JFK Medical Center Dental Clinic, 65 James Street, Edison, NJ  08818 (732-632-1688), Kidzdent USA, 2455 County Road 516, Old Bridge, NJ  08857 (732-679-2323), Menendez Health Center, 275 Hobart Street, Perth Amboy, NJ  08861 (732-376-6629), Middlesex County College, 2600 Woodbridge Avenue (Dept. of Dental Aux), Edison, NJ  08818 (732-906-2536), Dr. Alyssa Bernstein, 560 St. Georges Avenue, Rahway, NJ  07065 (732-388-3100), and Neighborhood Health Center-Elizabeth, 250 Second Street, Elizabeth, NJ  07206 (908-355-4459).


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