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'Give kids a smile': Children get free dental care at aquarium in Riverhead

Seven Browne, 4, of Coram, has his teeth

Seven Browne, 4, of Coram, has his teeth checked at the annual Give Kids a Smile event at the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead on Saturday. Credit: Veronique Louis

Hundreds of children received free dental care Saturday at the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead where dentists and hygienists treated underserved patients who had inadequate or no access to oral health care.

About 15 dentists, 25 dental students and more than 100 volunteers treated 370 children on Saturday, providing them dental screening, cleaning and fluoride services, said Bill Panzarino, executive director of the Suffolk County Dental Society who organized the event.

The annual event in Suffolk, which started at the aquarium nine years ago, was part of the national “Give Kids a Smile” program that was launched by the American Dental Association in 2003.

Dr. Kevin Henner, vice president of the New York State Dental Association and a dentist practicing in Deer Park, called the event a “steppingstone” to connect the patients to the care they need.

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