The Commonwealth, and Beyond, is Our Campus

The University of Kentucky College of Dentistry has a statewide oral health mission and a rich tradition of involving student dentists in service to those in need. One important goal is to help increase oral health care access for all Kentuckians by:

• Educating the public about the importance of oral health
• Reducing oral health care access barriers for underserved populations
• Promoting the integration of oral and general health care delivery systems
• Advocating for the benefits of oral health care with policy-making bodies and organizations

The UKCD has a diverse set of extramural, community-based activities and programs that address this goal across the Commonwealth.

Additionally, the college supports a variety of activities outside of the Commonwealth, including the Shoulder to Shoulder Global program coordinated by the University of Kentucky International Center

Seal KY

Since 1996, the Division of Dental Public Health has conducted school-based Seal Kentucky trips to provide dental screenings and sealants in primarily Eastern Kentucky.  A dental sealant is a plastic coating painted onto the surface of the tooth to prevent tooth decay. In 1987, only 7.6% of Kentucky children were found to have sealants.

UKCD student dentists, faculty and volunteers travel to elementary schools for up to three days and apply sealants to children whose parents consent to their treatment.  Each child is also screened, and a report describing their dental status is sent home to their parents.

Saturday Morning Clinics

The Saturday Morning Clinics are a tradition at the UKCD. Established in 1976, UK College of Dentistry dental students, under the supervision of faculty dentists, treat patients ages 4-12 years old, offering services including examinations, cleanings, radiographs, sealants, simple restorative work, extractions, and fluoride varnish. Kindergarten screenings are also available. In addition to being a vital safety net for children, the SMC provides an opportunity for prospective students to visit the college and see our student dentists at work in the clinic.

Mobile Dental Clinics

UK currently operates mobile dental clinics and a dental outreach program serving elementary school children and Head Start children in various Kentucky counties. The program celebrated 25 years of service in 2015. A number of initiatives evolved out of these programs, including the Kentucky Oral Health Network (KOHN), an oral health disparities initiative of the UK Center for Oral Health Research; award-winning pediatric and dental public health partnerships with the Kentucky Department for Public Health and Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Blue Grass; and the regional dental program at the UK Center of Excellence for Rural Health in Hazard, KY. These initiatives are also now targeting Appalachia and other rural area affiliated with the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science.Since 2000, the college’s outreach programs and partnerships have received several national awards for collaboration and community engagement.


KIDS SMILE is a program began in FY03-04 and funded from the tobacco settlement funds for children 0 through 5 years of age. The program provides local health department nurses the opportunity to participate in training that would ready them to: twice yearly screen children at their usual visits to health departments, apply a fluoride varnish, provide a oral health home care instructions to the child's caregiver, and make a proper referral to a dentist if necessary. As time goes on, the goal is for all at-risk children in Kentucky to be able to participate in KIDS SMILE to stem the tide of early childhood caries.

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