The Board of Directors of the Delta Dental of Arkansas Foundation presented a check to the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith to fund a free extraction day which is held through the University’s Dental Hygiene Program.
The $5,893 grant was given to UAFS by Delta Dental representative Edie J. Arey of Little Rock, director of the Delta Dental Foundation, who said the gift was to fund supplies related to the free extraction project.
“We commend you for your interest in meeting the oral health needs of local individuals who could not receive this care otherwise,” said Arey. “The Delta Dental of Arkansas Foundation is delighted to be able to offer this financial assistance to your organization as a way to help improve the oral health of Arkansans.”
Mitzi Efurd of Fort Smith, director of the Dental Hygiene Program, said a total of 175 individuals were assisted during the Free Extraction Day held last December at UAFS, an event where senior students assisted and administered local anesthesia with UAFS faculty supervision. Local dentists, dental staff and other volunteers also worked the event.
Last fall’s extraction day was the first time for the event to be held on the UAFS campus in the program’s clinic, although local dentists had sponsored a free extraction day in the past.
“Dr. Charlie Liggett had coordinated a free extraction day several times, and in 2010 our students helped in his office with one of his extraction day events,” said Efurd. “The day was moved here last year in order to serve more people and get more community participation. Dr. Liggett joined us for the check presentation. He is supportive of our program and is so excited about this.”
Efurd said she was grateful for the gift from Delta Dental.
“We believe we are meeting the needs of many of our area citizens who need our help,” she said. “Having Delta Dental Foundation give us funds toward this shows their involvement in our community as well.”
UAFS has offered an Associate of Applied Science degree in Dental Hygiene since the program began in 2000 and was recently approved for a bachelor’s degree program. In addition to the Free Extraction Day, the Dental Hygiene program operates a dental clinic as part of the teaching environment and provides dental health services to the public, including exams, cleaning, X-rays and fluoride treatment.