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Blinn Dental Hygiene students provide free dental care to local children in need

Blinn has provided more than $175,000 in preventive dental services since 2009

May 22, 2017

Blinn College Dental Hygiene Program graduate Katlyn Kimbrel and local registered dental nurse Emily May pose with a patient during the College’s ninth annual Give Kids a Smile event in Bryan. Approximately 60 Blinn dental hygiene students and local volunteers provided free dental services for more than 100 children at the event.

Blinn College’s Dental Hygiene Program recently continued its annual tradition of brightening smiles across the Brazos Valley.

Twenty-eight Blinn Dental Hygiene students teamed with approximately 30 local dentists, hygienists, assistants, officer managers, and Blinn faculty to provide free dental services for more than 100 children at the ninth annual Give Kids a Smile event. The program, an initiative of the American Dental Association, provides exams, x-rays, cleanings, sealants, tooth prints, fluoride, and oral health education to local children without access to regular dental care.

“Give Kids a Smile helps so many people in this community,” said Marque Mathis, Dental Hygiene Instructor. “Participants are given quality cleaning and care and are connected with local dentists for advanced oral assistance. This is not only a wonderful resource for people who do not have access to proper dental care, but gives our students experience working with real patients.”

Blinn’s Dental Hygiene program provided $26,757 in services during this year’s event, which included preventive care, sponsorships, and donated supplies from local dentists. Since the inaugural program in 2009, Give Kids a Smile has provided more than $175,000 in preventive dental services.

The Brazos Valley Dental Society, Brazos Valley Dental Hygiene Society, Bryan Independent School District, and local dental professionals have been instrumental in making the event a success. Several local dentists volunteer at the event and offer restorative treatments at no cost to the family.

“Blinn College has had more success in hosting Give Kids a Smile than any other community college in Texas,” said Dana Wood, Dental Hygiene Instructor. “This is because our students and the community fully commit to this program and are passionate about helping those in need.”

In addition to the Give Kids a Smile event, the Blinn Dental Hygiene Program offers year-round discounted cleanings and screenings for the general public at the Blinn Dental Hygiene Center, located at 301 Post Office St. in Bryan. The sessions, which are $20 per person, include dental cleanings, x-rays, fluoride, oral cancer inspections, and sealants. For more information, call: 979-209-7283.

Give Kids a Smile is part of Blinn’s Service Learning Program, which combines community service with classroom instruction or student club activities, focusing on critical and reflective thinking and civic responsibility to engage students. Service Learning involves students in activities that address local needs while developing their academic or professional skills and commitment to their community. Other Service Learning activities include emergency medical services and vocational nursing and associate degree nursing students volunteering at local clinics and hospitals; natural science students volunteering at local animal shelters; agricultural students working with Texas Parks and Wildlife and 4-H organizations; and social sciences students volunteering at local Democratic and Republican headquarters.

In 2016, Blinn was named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest accolade an educational institution can receive from the federal government for its commitment to service and civic engagement. 

Blinn’s Division of Health Sciences, based at the Texas A&M Health Science Center, offers associate degree nursing, dental hygiene, emergency medical services, fire science, health information technology, physical therapist assistant, radiologic technology, surgical technology, therapeutics manufacturing, veterinary technology, and vocational nursing programs designed to train students for high-demand professions. For more information, visit: www.blinn.edu/twe/healthsciences.html