A child smiles up to 300 times a day. Welvista is dedicated to making sure every smile is a healthy one.
Smiles for a Lifetime (SMILES), a division of Welvista, is a non-profit, school-based children’s dental program providing preventive and restorative services to children in grades K-12 in rural South Carolina counties. The centers are located on school grounds and operate during school hours. Transportation is provided and there is never an out-of-pocket cost for services.
To provide children the highest quality of care, SMILES partners with SC licensed dentists and hygienists from around the state, many of whom own their own practice. In 2018, the Duke Endowment Foundation recognized SMILES as a leading provider of children’s dental services in rural South Carolina. Since 2001, SMILES has provided services to over 20,443 children and performed 126,279 restorative services.
Participating School Districts
With funding from The Duke Endowment Foundation and the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, Welvista SMILES opened its first children’s dental center in Allendale County in 2001. Through community outreach efforts, oral hygiene education, and quality dental care, the outcomes far exceeded expectations and SMILES expanded to serve the following school districts:
- Allendale County School District
- Dillon Four School District (2003)
- Clarendon County School District (2004)
- Hampton County School District (2017).
- Dental Cleaning & Examination
- Fluoride Treatments
- Sealants, Restorative Services (fillings)
- Crowns (stainless steel)
- Oral Hygiene Education
To enroll an eligible student from a participating district, complete the SMILES Parent Permission Form. Return the form to a school nurse or email to Georgia Famuliner at email@example.com. Questions? Call (803) 584-4803.
Facts About Children’s Dental Care
- Cavities and other oral health problems have been called a silent epidemic in the United States.
- In South Carolina, about half of all cavities go untreated among low-income children.
- Untreated cavities cause pain, school absence, underweight and poor appearance – problems that can affect a child’s success in life.
- Untreated cavities can lead to health problems like sinus or gum infections, toothache and tooth loss.
- Low and moderate-income children miss a disproportionate amount of school due to dental disease.
- Poor oral health has been linked to diabetes, heart disease and other long-term health problems.
- Brushing cleans only 60% of a tooth’s surface.