Miles of Smiles-Laredo is a school-based oral disease prevention and oral health promotion program that provides a limited oral evaluation (dental screening) and fluoride varnish to children in kindergarten, first, second, and third grades at absolutely no cost to parents, children, or schools. Dental sealants are applied to children in second grade. If the sealant placed by the program in second grade is lost in third grade, it will be replaced.
School-based programs, like Miles of Smiles-Laredo, serve target populations within a school district, identify the need for sealants, and apply sealants in a school-based setting using evidence-based dental public health practices. School-based oral health promotion programs, like Miles of Smiles-Laredo, are scientifically supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as one of the best options to prevent tooth decay. Case management services are provided by program staff to help families connect to providers in the community for children identified with urgent oral health care needs. Miles of Smiles is providing services in Laredo TX and has collaborations with programs in both Houston and San Antonio, TX.
The Miles of Smiles-Laredo program has been in existence for ten years. The program is located at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) Laredo Campus Extension. Through funding provided by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the DentaQuest Foundation, the program serves children attending elementary schools in the United Independent School District and Laredo Independent School District. In 2014-2015, the Miles of Smiles-Laredo program provided dental services to over 8,500 children in 42 elementary schools. Through this program, children receive over $450,000 worth of dental services at no cost.