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Free dental exams for kids in Scranton

About 50 kids were able to get basic dental care for free as part of the American Dental Association Foundation's 'Give Kids A Smile' program.

SCRANTON, Pa. — At first glance, this looks like a typical teeth cleaning, but it isn't happening at a regular dentist's office.

Students from the Dental Hygiene program at Fortis Institute in Scranton participate in the American Dental Association Foundation's 'Give Kids A Smile' program, offering dental care to local kids.

"How to brush their teeth, how to do proper oral home care, that kind of stuff.  We also provide services such as cleaning, x-rays, exams," said Karen DeGroat, Fortis Institute Dental Hygiene Instructor.

The event serves as the capstone project for seniors in the Dental Hygiene program. 

Students must research where the underserved communities are for dental health and let people know about this program.

About 50 kids sit in these chairs, with dental hygiene students doing the work for free.

"There are a lot of people who aren't able to afford dental treatment or maybe don't have dental insurance, and that limits a lot of people because obviously, dental treatment is expensive," said Katelyn Huber, Fortis Institute Dental Hygiene student.

It's a relief for families to get dental care for free, and these students benefit from the hands-on training before they graduate.

"It does help to really work with any type of patient and get used to everything you're going to see when you're working in the dental field," said Huber.

Karen DeGroat oversees this event and says this is the largest number of patients signed up for dental treatment than in times past. 

Karen believes it's important to give people something to smile about, not just a clean bill of oral health.

"It brings tears to my eyes. It gives me such joy to be able to see the kids come in here and smile and let them have a good experience at the dental office," said DeGroat.

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