Miles of smiles
If one child’s smile can warm the heart, imagine what tens of thousands can do.
That’s the reality in Laredo, where Miles of Smiles–Laredo has brought free dental care to elementary school children since 2006.
Miles of Smiles–Laredo is a School of Dentistry public health program directed by David P. Cappelli, Ph.D., D.M.D., M.P.H., professor and director of the research division in the Department of Comprehensive Dentistry.
The program’s reach has expanded from two schools to 47 schools in a decade. That’s about 10,000 children each year who receive free care.
Using portable dental equipment, a team of one dentist and three dental assistants from UT Health’s Laredo campus spend two to four days in each school, providing dental screenings, fluoride varnish and dental sealants.
It’s estimated that over $470,000 in uncompensated dental services were provided in Webb County last year.