Butler Tech teens help brighten smiles for Middletown students

WEST CHESTER TWP. — A free dental event — including assistance by high school students learning dentistry skills — saw dozens of Middletown students’ smiles brightened Friday by Butler Tech and area dentists.

The annual “Give Kids A Smile Ohio” statewide event was conducted locally for the second year at Butler Tech’s Bioscience Center school in West Chester Twp., and it left students from Middletown’s Rosa Parks Elementary beaming.

Abbie Cook, principal of the Bioscience Center, said hosting the event allows high school students learning dental assistant skills to directly see the impact and importance of helping youngsters maintain their dental health.

“Annually hosting the Give Kids a Smile event is an honor and a privilege,” said Cook.

“Not only do our students get to experience assisting the local dentists and their hygienists and assistants, but they also see firsthand how impactful a community can be in the lives of those around us,” she said.

The free event, which this year involved Rosa Parks students through a collaboration with the Keely Dental Society and the Ohio Dental Association, leaves everyone smiling, said Dr. Michael Vorherr.

“For many children, access to dental care is a challenge due to various barriers. Our goal is to provide essential dental services in a comfortable and welcoming environment, making a real difference in these children’s lives,” said Vorherr.

The “Give Kids A Smile” program is a collaborative effort among the American Dental Association, the Ohio Dental Association, and other state and component dental societies throughout America to mobilize dentists and dental professionals nationwide to volunteer their services.

The one-day kick off for the program saw more than 1,698 volunteer dental professionals in Ohio donating services valued at nearly $977,000 and impacting over 32,000 children, said Butler Tech officials.

Ohio Dental Association President and Cincinnati-area dentist Dr. Manny Chopra said Friday’s events across the state will continue periodically through the year with similar free services offered to improve an estimated 100,000 Ohio youth and their smiles.

“Butler Tech has been integral in providing dental students’ training as a part of their (Bioscience Center) training,” said Chopra.

Butler Tech senior Leanna Gandy, from Edgewood Schools, worked alongside practicing dentists and dental assistants and said the event was informative and uplifting.

“A lot of people aren’t fortunate enough to have this (dental care), and I feel like I’m giving back to the community,” said Gandy. “It’s so awesome we can do this as juniors and seniors in high school.”

Photojournalist Nick Graham contributed to this story

About the Author