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Dental Community Outreach

In too many communities across Texas, oral health falls by the wayside. The dedicated faculty and students at UTHealth School of Dentistry are committed to changing this.

Nearly 5 million Texans—most of whom work full- or part-time—have no health or dental coverage, putting oral care out of financial reach. Statewide shortages of dental professionals compound this problem, especially for those living in rural counties—many of which have no practicing dentists. Inconsistent oral care means more worse than bad teeth; it can lead to gum disease, body-wide bacterial infection, and even cancer.

We provide high quality dental care through our community outreach programs to improve health in Houston and across Texas. We serve patients of all ages, but in particular, we focus on three of the most vulnerable populations—children, older adults, and communities without access to care—many of which are living with painful, broken, or missing teeth. Our aim to reduce the disparity in dental care and improve general health by providing care through our Mobile Dental Vans and through outreach and oral health education events such as Give Kids a Smile and Give Vets a Smile.

For more than 100 years, the School of Dentistry has been a dependable source of low-cost dental care for patients of all ages through our community outreach programs across the state and at our primary care location in the Texas Medical Center.

As oral health professionals, we are called to not only move the field forward, but to care for people in every community, near and far. Your support of Many Faces. One Mission. will help ensure we can carry out this calling in the communities that need it most.

  • Give Kids a Smile

    A long-running School of Dentistry program, Give Kids a Smile provides care to children from low-income, uninsured families: cleanings, fillings, fluoride treatments, and simple procedures. Alongside the Tooth Fairy Clinic and other pediatric dentistry outreach programs, this annual event is a valuable touchpoint for education about oral health and hygiene, advancing the School of Dentistry’s broader mission to teach healthy habits early.

  • Give Vets a Smile

    A collaboration between the School of Dentistry and Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth, Give Vets a Smile provides free oral care to uninsured veterans. With benefits from the United States Veterans Administration leaving gaps in oral health, some veterans have nowhere to turn. At Give Vets a Smile, students and residents deliver urgent, palliative, therapeutic, and preventive dental care to the women and men who have faithfully served our country.

  • Our Mobile Dental Vans

    Many patients without insurance also lack transportation to a dental clinic, making the mobile dental van a lifeline for oral care. Students from the School of Dentistry staff our Mobile Dental Vans under faculty supervision, providing services such as screenings, preventive and restorative dentistry, and oral health education to residents in East Texas and children in Houston.