Smiles for a Lifetime
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 school-aged 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.
SMILES values the direct link between oral health, overall health and the well-being of every child and adolescent. Our children’s dental centers focus on prevention and recognize the deficit in accessibility to oral healthcare in many rural counties.
Smiles for a Lifetime (SMILES) opened its first children’s dental center in Allendale County in 2001 with funding from The Duke Endowment Foundation and the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina. The healthy outcomes achieved in Allendale County through SMILES community outreach, oral hygiene education, preventive and restorative services exceeded high expectations, which led to program expansion within two years into Dillon Four School District. Through sustained funding, SMILES opened three additional centers; Clarendon Two School District in 2004, Clarendon One School District in 2005, and Hampton One School District in 2017. SMILES partners with SC licensed dentists and hygienists from around the state, many of whom own their own practice, to be able to give children the highest quality of care. Since its inception in 2001, SMILES has provided services to over 20,243 children and performed 120,204 restorative services. In 2018, The Duke Endowment Foundation recognized SMILES as a leading provider of children’s dental services in rural South Carolina.
Participating Counties and School Districts
- Allendale County School District
- Dillon Four School District
- Hampton County School District
- Clarendon One School District (Summerton – Clarendon County)
- Clarendon Two School District (Manning – Clarendon County)
To enroll an eligible student from a participating district, download and complete the Smiles for A Lifetime Parent Consent Form. Please return the completed form to a school nurse or email to Georgia Famuliner at email@example.com. Please call (803) 584-4803 with questions.
- Dental Cleaning and Examination
- Fluoride Treatments
- Crowns (stainless steel)
- Restorative Services (fillings)
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, low-income families are especially at risk for dental and oral health problems. 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 other 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.
- A child smiles up to 300 times a day.