Twenty-two Special Olympics Wisconsin athletes received free oral care compliments of Boudry Dental in Fond du Lac as part of Special Olympics Gives Athletes a Smile Day on Friday, September 23. After all integral cleanings, fillings, extractions, and x-rays had been taken, members of our SOWI community were treated to more than $22,000 in in-kind care.
“What an amazing experience—it feels great to give back and provide care to Special Olympics Wisconsin athletes,” fourth-year Marquette dental student Dillon Cea said. “There’s so much joy and gratitude in this office today, and everyone we have met has been incredible. We gained important experience as caregivers, and overall it has been really rewarding.”
Performing services on the day were the incredible staff from Boudry Dental, led by Special Olympics Wisconsin Clinical Director Tammy Boudry, as well as staff and students from the Marquette Dental School. Under supervision of Adjunct Assistant Professor & SOWI Clinical Director Kyle Menne, fourth-year students from Marquette gained experience working with and learning more about the health needs of diverse populations—specifically those with intellectual disabilities.
“To learn more about the needs of this population has been important to our growth as dental students,” fourth-year Marquette dental student Juno Park said. “Clinically, we can see oral hygiene and dietary trends for this population that has historically experienced more health concerns. And education and encouragement of better health practices is part of our job—to ensure we know how to communicate effectively with those with intellectual disabilities is part of that training.”
Several athletes who attended Give Athletes a Smile Day were referred from previous Special Smiles events at statewide sports competitions. Special Smiles will be offered next in Neenah for the State Flag Football and State Cornhole tournaments on October 8.
Additionally, a second Give Athletes a Smile Day will take place in Madison on Friday, November 4. Care could include cleanings, fillings, extractions, and potentially root canals—all provided free by volunteer dental professionals and sponsored by Delta Dental of Wisconsin Foundation. Appointments times are available from 8 a.m. to noon and should be booked via email to Missy Schoenbrodt.
Check out photos from the day—including some pretty special furry assistants!—on our Flickr album.