The children of Oneida, Madison and Herkimer counties will have something to smile about at the third annual
Kids A Smile (GKAS) event to be held on Saturday, February 4, 2012,
from 9am to 1pm. Children between the ages of 4 and 10 who do not have a
dentist are eligible to participate in the event and will receive
preventive treatment including an exam, cleaning,
sealants and fluoride varnish.
An appointment is
necessary to participate in the GKAS event. If your child or you know a
child who may benefit from the program, call the Mohawk Valley Perinatal
Network at (315) 732-4657 ext. 226 or toll-free
at 1-877-267-6193 ext. 226.
GKAS is a national
program sponsored by the American Dental Association that provides free
oral health care services to children from low-income families across
the country. According to the Surgeon General,
tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among children in the
United States, five times more prevalent than childhood asthma.
The event is
organized by Faxton St. Luke's Healthcare's Dental Health Center and the
Mohawk Valley Perinatal Network. It is made possible by grants from the
Children's Miracle Network Hospitals at Faxton St.
Luke's Healthcare (FSLH) and the United Way of the Valley and Greater
Utica Area. This year, more than 75 volunteers will be treating children at six
different locations including:
Faxton St. Luke's Healthcare's Dental Health Center
1714 Burrstone Road, New Hartford, NY 13413
(Interpretive services available at this location)
Charles Burns, DDS
2534 Genesee Street, Utica, NY 13502
Pablo R. Elizondo, DMD
311 W. Thomas Street, Rome, NY 13440
Virinder Modgil, DDS
Camden Dental PC
68 Main Street, Camden, NY 13316
Stephen Dudek, DDS
Dental Associates of West Winfield
103 Burrows Road, West Winfield, NY 13491
Mark Slavin, DDS
121 W. Main Street, Watervillle, New York 13480
health problems are largely neglected in children from low-income
families. According to the United States Government Accountability
Office, less than 37 percent of the children covered by
Medicaid received dental services in the most recent report available.
This is due in large part to the limited availability of dentists who
accept Medicaid and other government sponsored healthcare programs.
In Oneida County, a
study by the New York State Department of Health found that nearly 78
percent of third graders from low socio-economic families had insurance,
yet 41 percent of those children had untreated
oral health issues.
"It's not that
dentists don't want to treat these children, it's that there are
barriers when it comes to insurance," said Lisa Shaw, RDH, MS, community
dental coordinator at FSLH. "Many of the children we
see have insurance, but dentists in our community may not accept what
Some dentists are
reluctant to accept Medicaid because of low reimbursement rates, late
payments from states and a sometimes challenging program structure. The
latest national estimates indicate that nearly
30 million children are covered by Medicaid, making them the most likely
to suffer if unable to access necessary dental care.
"We want to do all
that we can to make the insurance criteria friendlier for both dentists
and patients in our community," said Shaw. "Legislation can help too by
eliminating some of the barriers dentists face
when working with Medicaid. Ultimately, we want to be able to create
dental homes for children in Oneida, Madison and Herkimer counties."
For more information about GKAS, call (315) 624-5602 or visit www.faxtonstlukes.com/gkas.