Partnership for Smiles

Partnership for Smiles

















Putting Happy, Healthy Smiles on Thousands 
of Kansas City's Disadvantaged Children 
and Families

A Silent Epidemic
Tooth decay is the single-most common, chronic disease among children in the United States. Untreated tooth decay can cause a child to experience pain, loss of appetite, mental distraction, tooth loss, a disfigured smile, speech pathology, emotional distress, academic problems and behavioral issues. Techniques for the prevention and treatment of tooth decay have been available in the United States for over 50 years. Medicaid, the federal-state health "safety net" for the poor, guarantees that all children will have access to high quality oral health care. Yet among those children who qualify for Medicaid, fewer than 20 percent actually receive care.

In greater Kansas City, as in much of the nation, access to oral health care for disadvantaged children and their families remains an unfulfilled promise. Medicaid reimbursement is too low to attract an adequate number of private practitioners to meet the demand for services. Nonprofit and public health clinics struggle to make up the shortfall; yet, the need for services continues to grow.

A Partnership for Success
Partnership for Smiles was established with the mission to fully meet the oral health needs of disadvantaged children and families in greater Kansas City. Fifty-five percent of children in Missouri who qualify for Medicaid do not receive adequate oral health care. Because of Partnership for Smiles more of these children and families in the Kansas City area are able to receive the care they desperately need. The success of the program is accomplished through the hard work and commitment generated by the partnership between the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry and these community health centers:

Cabot Westside Clinic
Kansas City Free Health Center
Rodgers Health Center
Seton Family and Health Services
Swope Parkway Health Center

UMKC School of Dentistry faculty and students rotate through the centers to perform preventive and restorative treatments as well as prophylactic cleanings. They have treated over 6,000 disadvantaged patients who otherwise might not have received any care at all

Securing a Smile
Over the next five years Partnership for Smiles has resolved to increase its level of service so that it can deliver care to 12,000 patients per year. To accomplish this ambitious increase in service, Partnership for Smiles must accomplish a substantial increase in its sources and amounts of financial support. Your financial support of Partnership for Smiles will expand the number of dentists and hygienists delivering care in the community health centers. You'll also help establish treatment programs for the children and families in desperate need of our assistance. The individuals and organizations who invest in Partnership for Smiles will help guarantee that more children and families in greater Kansas City can enjoy healthy, happy smiles.

Praise for Partnership for Smiles
"Partnership for Smiles has been invaluable to Seton Center Family & Health Services. This program has provided us the opportunity to server more people who need dental care. The quality of dentists is excellent."
--Rachel Asaro, Executive Director of Seton Center Family & Health Services

"Prime Health Foundations is pleased to be part of the UMKC School of Dentistry's Partnership for Smiles. Poor or non-existent dental care keeps many low-income youngsters from succeeding in school--no one can pay attention when their teeth ache. We are grateful that the School of Dentistry took a leadership role in trying to ameliorate this problem."
--Joan Biblo, Executive Director of Prime Health Foundation

"Partnership for Smiles is a classic example of how a number of organizations can work together to better serve persons in need."
--David Ross, Senior Vice President of Bank of America

Funding Partners
The Partnership for Smiles is supported with grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and eight local funding partners.

  • Charles Curry and Company

  • Curry Family Foundation

  • John & Effie Speas Foundation, Bank of America

  • Hall Family foundation

  • H&R Block Foundation

  • Linscomb Foundation, Greater Kansas City Community Foundation

  • Prime Health Foundation

  • Sosland Foundation

For more information, please contact:
Office of Alumni and Development
UMKC School of Dentistry
650 E. 25th St.
Kansas City, MO 64108
(816) 235-2173 or (800) 887-4477
Fax (816) 235-5892