Dentists and staff members from across the state provided free dental care and oral health education to Georgia’s children during Children’s Dental Health Month in February. The signature event of the month was the 11th annual Give Kids A Smile (GKAS) Day on February 1. Thirty-one programs registered with the ADA to provide GKAS events in Georgia alone, with free care and services to be delivered at an estimated $61,000 in value in just one day! Several of these programs are spotlighted below. The GDA Council on Dental Health distributed over 10,000 toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes, and goody bags across all seven of the GDA districts.

A big thank you to all the GDA member dentist, dental staff, Alliance member, dental hygiene school, and community volunteers who helped to make Children’s Dental Health Month and GKAS Day a tremendous success in Georgia. The GDA members involved in the activities are named below, but behind every bold name are spouses, dental hygienists, dental assistants, front office personnel, family members, and community helpers who worked hard and with love for Georgia’s children.

This article contains information reported to the GDA office as of March 15, 2013. If your event is not listed below, please contact Courtney Layfield at layfield@gadental.org with the details of your event.


Central District

Dr. Shirley Fisher introduced a class of 21 kindergartners to what a dentist is, what they do, and taught them how to brush and floss. Dr. Steve Holcomb visited a Byron elementary school and gave presentations to some 300 7- and 8-year olds. Dr. Jennifer Roberson went to Stratford Academy in Macon to give a presentation to approximately 220 children. The kids watched a Dudley the Dinosaur Goes to the Dentist movie, learned about brushing and flossing, and asked questions about the dentist and their teeth.

Drs. Nitsa Gilbert, Barbara Jansen, Ched Smaha, Robert Wright, and Temiko Braswell participated in a GKAS event at Middle Georgia Technical College in Warner Robins. Also on GKAS Day, Drs. Katie Garvin, Amber Lawson, Marilyn Murphy, Kara Moore, and Margaret Moore provided comprehensive exams, cleanings, x-rays, and treatment to 22 children valued at $17,000. The volunteers also provided follow-up appointments for several children who needed space maintainers.


Eastern District

Oral health educational programs abounded in and around Augusta during Children’s Dental Health Month. Dr. Celia Dunn visited 150 students at Blue Ridge and Wheeler Pines Preschool; Dr. Greg Griffin presented to 85 students at Lincoln County Elementary; Dr. Judson Hickey went to several elementary schools teaching 95 students about good oral health; Dr. Eddie Johnson went to three schools reaching 225 students; Dr. Tina Moses went to Windsor Spring Elementary School and gave presentations to 600 students; Dr. Tommy Neal visited two schools and presented to 90 students; Dr. Ted Oellerich educated 50 local children on good oral health; and Dr. Barbara Utermark enjoyed visiting Baker Place, Cedar Ridge, and Lewiston elementary schools, reaching a total of 1,700 children. Dr. William Morang shared videos and dental trivia with third graders at Oconee Elementary with plans to visit many more schools. He thanks Debra Newman for helping to arrange the visit. Drs. Thomas McDonald, Ericka Edmonds, and Carolye Mason volunteered with the Pierre Fauchard GKAS Program in Greensboro.

Drs. David Brantley, Andy Chandler, Kelly Hughes, Amber Perry, John Spratling, and Tara Schafer rose to the occasion at the GRU College of Dental Medicine and provided treatment ranging from prophys to stainless steel crowns to 82 low-income children.


Northern District

Dr. Diane Kelly had a great Children’s Dental Health Month. Her team members visited 13 schools, with help from the Tooth Fairy and “Tigger,” and taught 1,200 students the importance of a healthy diet and proper dental hygiene. Dr. Troy Schulman discussed healthy snacks, the importance of going to the dentist, answered dental questions, and taught proper brushing and flossing to 22 third graders at High Point Elementary School in Sandy Springs. Dr. Janice Wilmot celebrated CDHM at Camp Creek Elementary with 180 first graders who learned about proper brushing and flossing habits. Several other doctors stepped up and conducted educational programs at schools, including: Dr. Ryan Vaughn (550 children); Dr. Sam Kwon (1,920 children); and Dr. Tom Weyrich (550 children). Dr. George MacMaster and associates visited the Boys and Girls Club of Hall County, providing free dental screenings and education on brushing and flossing to 114 children for GKAS Day.

GKAS was big in Gainesville, when Drs. Ryan Vaughn, Heather Perry McGee, Tom Weyrich, Michael Thornton, W. Jones Phillips, Cindy Greene, Del Mixon, Tom Field, Darlene Davis, James Hicks, Anna Vu, Patrick Toms, Ben Hawkins, Mollie Winston, Meredith Dempsey, Mike Vetter, Michael Phelan, Jack Bickford, William Couch and many other volunteers came together at two locations to provide free exams, prophys, fluoride, sealants, and needed extractions to 295 children. Some 140 children traveled from Hall County schools via busses. The Tooth Fairy, aka “Bubble Gum” (Renee Woodall) entertained the waiting kids. Volunteers also gave more than 200 bags of food to the Georgia Mountain Food Bank.


Northwestern District

Dr. Sean O’Rourke and his team reached seven children on GKAS Day, providing cleanings, exams, x-rays, and needed treatment to each child. Drs. Denise Hall, Faith Bates, Chris Shim, Lechandre Wadley, Melanie Tang, Kay Kalantari, Brenda Fritz, David Bradberry, and Julius Park along with numerous support volunteers provided education and screenings to 57 children. Most children also received at least one dental procedure, including prophys, x-rays, fluoride, and sealants, with care delivered valued at over $22,000. Every child also received a goody bag and enjoyed a balloon animal artist while they waited for care.


Southeastern District

Dr. Glenn Sasser invited the McIntosh County Pre-K classes to his office for a tour and demonstration of how things work in a dental office. The children were shown how x-rays are taken, the equipment used for cleanings, and a light curing demonstration, and received oral hygiene instruction. Dr. Sasser also went to the McIntosh Head Start program to demonstrate home care, including brushing and flossing. In total, Dr. Sasser and his team reached 135 children. Dr. Billy Jamerson gave oral hygiene instruction, nutritional counseling, and brushing and flossing demonstrations to 95 children at Chatham Academy, Heard Elementary, and Rambum Day School. Dr. Stanley Prince went to St. Mary’s Elementary to visit with 108 kindergarteners. Dr. Larry Schmitz and numerous other volunteers went to Pooler Elementary and Ash Tree Academy to teach oral health and nutrition. They also held a Kid’s Health Day on February 16, offering exams, x-rays, and restorative treatment. In total, the group saw 430 children.

Dr. Thomas Sayer visited with 59 children in St. Simons giving an educational program on nutrition and oral hygiene. Dr. Paul LaSala visited with several schools across Bryan, Evans, Tattnall, and Bulloch counties, educating 1,259 students on the importance of brushing, flossing, and making healthy food choices. Dr. Julie Howard gave presentations to 100 students in grades K4, K5, Kindergarten, second, and third at St. Andrews and Lanier Primary. Dr. Mark Dusek made oral health presentations to 200 children at Hess Elementary. Dr. Stephanie Skinner instructed 112 students at St. Francis Cabrini School on oral hygiene, brushing, and flossing.

On GKAS Day, Drs. Stanley Prince, Lester Harris, and Richard Spencer along with their support teams treated 40 children with free dental care valued at just over $8,000. All children received an oral health screening and panorex x-ray. Those that needed additional services, like extractions or fillings, also received care.


Southwestern District

In recognition of CDHM, the office of Dr. Chris Hilliard hosted their annual visit from all the Pre-K classes at Cook County Primary School in Adel. Dr. Hilliard has hosted this event for over a decade to show his community support and help educate the youth in his area. Dr. Hilliard’s team members helped to show the children around the dental office, showed how the equipment works, and answered lots of questions from curious little ones. Dr. Bo Broadfoot hosted a Pre-K class in his office where students sprayed Silly String on oversized cardboard teeth and used a giant toothbrush to clean the teeth and rope to floss.

Drs. Amanda Merritt, Jessica Watson, Charles Sauls, Larry Perkins, Robert Lane, and Stacey Marshall volunteered their time and talents at the Darton College of Dental Hygiene in Albany. Fully 100 children received dental screenings, cleanings, fillings, and oral health education.


Western District

Dr. Alex Cranford visited the Boys and Girls Club of Newnan to give oral health education and goody bags to 125 children. Dr. Paul Garcia was busy throughout February and early March giving oral health educational programs at several schools, including St. Mary Road Magnet Academy (55 kids), Edgewood Elementary School (30 kids), TSYS Learning Center (125 kids), Gentian Magnet Academy (48 kids), and Wynnton Arts Academy (52 kids), as well as educating 6 children at the Damascus Way Shelter in Columbus.