Dental Visits are
Fun for Children
Boxberger shows Kenya the correct way to
brush her teeth.
The children wore silly sunglasses and paper
crowns while dancing down the hallways of the
LSUHSC School of Dentistry (LSUSD) during the
annual Give Kids A Smile (GKAS) day. Sponsored
by the American Dental Association every
February during Children's Dental Health Month,
this nationwide event is designed to spotlight
the dental needs of children.
For Dr. Janice Townsend, interim chair of the
Department of Pediatric Dentistry, a festive
environment was a key component of the effort.
“All our attitudes about life are formed when we
are young. It’s vital that we teach children
that dentistry is good and that it will help
them throughout their lives. In order to do so,
we have to make it fun for a child to go to the
Under Dr. Townsend's leadership and in
collaboration with the New Orleans Dental
Association and the Children’s Dental Health
Month Committee, LSUSD organized a team of 39
dentists, residents in the pediatric dentistry
program and dental hygienists to provide
screenings for 50 kindergarten children from W.
Smith Elementary School in Violet, Louisiana.
This undertaking was led by Drs. Kellie Axelrad
and Nicole Boxberger, both graduates of the
pediatric dentistry program. At Children’s
Hospital, Dr. Pam Shaw, also a graduate of the
LSUSD program, provided care for an additional
About 25% of the children were in need of dental
treatment and some needed urgent care. Each
child was given an extraoral and soft tissue
exam and also goody bags with toothbrushes and
toothpaste. Led by Jennifer Hew, faculty member
in the Dental Hygiene program, an enthusiastic
team of dental hygiene students and their
teachers gave the children personal instruction
on how to brush and floss. Later, the lessons
were reinforced by a video featuring Dudley the
second-year dental students, poses
On Friday, February 10, a team of seven dentists
and dental assistants participated in an
awareness event at the Hornets basketball game.
They provided counseling to 550 basketball fans
on oral hygiene and diet, along with gifts of
toothbrushes and toothpaste.
Dr. Townsend remarked, “I had a fabulous time
and I think our kids really enjoyed the care
they received.” Media coverage this year
included television interviews on the local Fox
station and NBC affiliate, along with an article
in The Times-Picayune.
Nationwide, there were 1,615 such GKAS events
with 29,885 dental professional volunteers
caring for 405,614 children.
According to Dean Gremillion, dean of LSUSD,
outreach programs are essential to the dental
school’s philosophy of “Education First.”
“Reaching out to underserved populations is a
win-win for everyone involved. The children
benefit. Our students benefit. It is essential
that we maintain a caring, service-minded
environment at the LSUHSC School of