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9th Year of Give Kids a Smile and Vision for the Future Day
Nothing is better than seeing a child smile!
Give Kids a Smile and Vision for the Future was held on April 20th 2012. CVIM and event partners Nittany Eye Associates and Pediatric Dental Care, LLC have been partnering to hold this event for nine years. This year 52 children attended the event. Statistics are provided below. This report shares some touching stories about why this event is important and changes the lives of children who attend.
Several children with multiple cavities were seen at this year’s event. One child while being examined by the dentist was asked if he ever had pain in his teeth. He sheepishly said “Sometimes my teeth hurt me.” The dentist found abscessed teeth and the child had multiple teeth restored at the event and will be returning for follow up work after the event. Six other children needed additional restorative work that could not be completed the day of the event. One child was referred to an oral surgeon for removal of his wisdom teeth and 13 children need evaluation for orthodontics.
In comparing statistics from 2011 to 2012, more sealants (protective coatings for the teeth to prevent cavities) were completed this year. This means that more permanent teeth were without cavities and able to be sealed compared to prior events. In addition, fewer fillings and extractions were needed this year. CVIM will begin looking at this data across years as well as tracking trends with individual children, particularly those who attend the event regularly to see if the services are impacting the oral health of the children and resulting in fewer cavities and better overall oral health at future events. We suspect this is the case, but will be tracking our data in a way that we can know this first hand.
This year CVIM has been able to upgrade our data collection capabilities and can track the progress of individual children over time which previously was not an option. In addition, CVIM is gathering more information about how often children are attending the event. We suspect children are attending the event every other year based on schedules from previous events. CVIM will be targeting educational efforts to these families to try to remind them to attend every year for optimum health.
Many children failed the vision screening and required comprehensive exams. One 12 year old child was initially prescribed glasses at the age of 5 or 6. She had been without eye glasses for 4 years due to her parents losing insurance. Her school allowed her to read books with larger print for less points than her peers, who were reading books with smaller print and that were more age appropriate. No referral for vision care was made. In addition, the child suffers from a 50% reduction in depth perception. She strikes out a lot in the softball games she plays because of this. Her lazy eye has also worsened after being without glasses for 4 years. She was provided with glasses at the event and will return for monitoring of her lazy eye.
The connection between diminished classroom or activity capability and vision problems is not often detected. This leaves children to struggle academically and socially. Many vision challenges can be corrected or improved with various therapies. Access to care is the key and through this event, CVIM and our event partners strive to reduce the barrier to access and help children resolve their dental or vision problems in order to be more productive in school and community activities, therefore giving them stronger futures.
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