Give Kids a Smile

Every year, the San Fernando Valley Dental Society's Foundation and members participate in a nationwide community program sponsored by the American Dental Association called “Give Kids a Smile.” this program provides free dental screening, fluoride varnish applications, dental education, diet counseling and referrals to pre-school and early primary school children. While our focus is on 0-5 year olds, we will screen and refer children up to the age of 12.

Dentists from the San Fernando Valley Dental Society, together with Oral Hygienists and Dental Assistants volunteer their time to perform these free dental screenings to hundreds of children, most notably, children from low-income households whose parents cannot otherwise afford have such screenings and fluoride varnish applications performed on their own. In addition, volunteer dentists will complete the AB 1433 forms parents need to enroll their children in kindergarten.

Every year, the San Fernando Valley Dental Society’s Give Kids a Smile program screen more than 1000 children throughout the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys.during the last five years, we have provided more than $700,000 worth of free dental care to our communities' neediest children.

Dentist examining a child
Children were given coloring books, crayons, a toothbrush, toothpaste and a brief review of dental and oral health (including diet counseling) by dental assistants and Oral Hygienists before being brought into the clinic for a dental screening.

At each Give Kids a Smile location, volunteer dentists spend time putting each child at ease and explained what the screening procedure would be about and why periodic screenings are important. The dentists performed a visual screening of the child’s teeth and applied a fluoride varnish (donated by national dental products companies) to their teeth. In the last phase, the children were taught the importance of flossing and how to floss, and each child received their own small tin of dental tape (also donated by national dental products companies) to bring home with them.

At the conclusion of the screening, the children were given a very friendly and praiseworthy thanks for participating in the program by the dentist, further reinforcing the non-threatening aspect of seeing a dentist – and were awarded a cartoon sticker of their choice.

Any child whose screening revealed the need for follow up was noted and passed on to the school’s health professionals for follow-up consultations and referrals to the child’s parents.

Head Start Programs

Dentist teaches child to brush their teeth

During the last few years, the SFVDS also brought the Give Kids a Smile program to 100+ local Head Start programs throughout the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and Antelope Valleys.Children enrolled in these Head Start programs received oral health education, oral health screenings and fluoride varnish application by almost 50 SFVDS member dentists.

Other Collaborations

Dental procedure for community service

Over time, the San Fernando Valley Dental Society has collaborated with the Kids Community Dental Clinic in Burbank, YMCA facilities, Police Athletic League locations, rescue shelters and homeless service centers.  Collaboration meant that the SFVDS provided the member dentists to screen children at these facilities and/or provided the supplies to clinics, necessary to conduct oral health screenings, assessments and topical fluoride varnish application for the children participating in their programs - particularly during Children's Oral Health Month during February - which included various Give Kids a Smile programs.

Please visit the foundation website for additional information: