Initial “Sea of Smiles” dental event provides $30K in free service to Maui kids

PC: Courtesy

The University of Hawaiʻi Maui College’s Dental Hygiene program is entering 2022 on a high note after a successful first annual “Sea of Smiles” event.

Nearly 100 Maui children ages 18 and younger received more than $30,000 of free dental services at the event, which was held last month.

Organized by local dental hygienists Kellyn Fuller and Rosie Vierra, Program Coordinator at UHMC’s Dental Hygiene Program, the event provided preventative and restorative dental services to 90 Maui keiki, 25 of them from the foster care system.

Based on the American Dental Association national average cost of services, Fuller said the event provided $30,486.79 worth of free X-rays, exams, cleanings, fillings, extractions, and dental education.

The volunteer effort included seven local dentists, 11 registered dental hygienists, three dental assistants and the most of the college’s dental hygiene students.

In preparation, Fuller said, “We worked with several community partners to help find the highest need families. We couldn’t have done it without the work of the social workers, school counselors, child and family support services, IMUA Family Services and many others.”

“Sea of Smiles” was made possible through a grant by the Hawaiian Dental Service Foundation, which covered all supplies. Participants were treated at UH Maui’s 18 state-of-the-art dental suites.

“We are already looking forward to another annual day of giving children the joy of a healthy smile,” said Fuller.

Vierra said “Sea of Smiles” strengthened her motto: “The more you serve, the more you learn. The more you learn, the more you serve.”

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