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Two dentists in scrubs sitting in an exam room.

Over 200 underserved and homeless people in the Birmingham area received teeth cleanings, fillings and extractions at no cost as part of the seventh annual ‘UAB Dentistry Cares’ Community Day, which took place on October 16 at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry.

Organized by the UAB School of Dentistry, several hundred volunteers took part in the charitable event, including partners from Cahaba Valley Health Care, Christ Health Center, Fortis Institute and other local dentists, health agencies and companies.

“UAB Dentistry Cares helps raise awareness of the increasing difficulty that low-income adults face in accessing critical dental services. These oral health barriers can elevate chronic health conditions, reduce employability and lead to the preventable use of costly acute care,” said Michelle Robinson, DMD, MA, senior associate dean and event chair. “We are so thankful to all of our partners who helped make this event successful.”

More than half of adults ages 20 to 64 below the federal poverty level report their teeth are in either fair or poor condition, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Less than 50 percent of these adults see a dentist regularly. Additionally, Alabama Medicaid provides no dental coverage for adults over age 21, so low-income people have limited access to dental services in this state.

Through sponsor and community support, the UAB School of Dentistry is among very few dental schools in the country to host this type of benevolent event. Along with dental care, all of those who took part in UAB Dentistry Cares received blood pressure checks and oral health counselling.

Henry Schein was the event’s title sponsor. Other sponsors were The Caring Foundation, a gold sponsor; Brasseler, a silver sponsor; Glaxo Smith-Kline, OKU National Dental Honor Society – Phi Phi Chapter, and Oral Arts Dental Laboratories, bronze sponsors; and Hilton Birmingham at UAB, a ‘friend’ level supporter.