Delta Dental of Wisconsin and Special Olympics Wisconsin Team Up for Special Smiles

May 29, 2014

Delta Dental of Wisconsin will present Special Olympics Wisconsin (SOWI) with a check for $25,000 to continue to provide free oral health screenings, fluoride varnish and education to athletes as part of the Special Olympics Special Smiles® program on Friday, June 6 at 10:00 a.m. at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in the Health Enhancement Center outside of Room 119.

The check presentation will take place in conjunction with the SOWI State Summer Games and will kick off the oral screenings taking place that day. More than 20 dentists, hygienists and dental students are expected to travel from communities across the state to volunteer at this event.

According to Missy Schoenbrodt, Director of Athlete Wellness for SOWI, approximately 38% of athletes screened last year had untreated tooth decay and 14% had urgent dental needs.

“Education is the key to preventing oral health issues and our volunteers make it fun for our athletes to learn about oral hygiene,” said Schoenbrodt. “Athletes not only receive education and have their oral health needs identified, they also receive help finding a dentist. We appreciate Delta Dental’s continued efforts to keep our athletes healthy.”

Special Smiles not only benefits the athletes, it also gives volunteers the opportunity to work with individuals with intellectual disabilities. Since 2002, Delta Dental has been the exclusive statewide partner of the Special Olympics Special Smiles program, providing screenings at three State Games throughout the year. All participants screened at Special Smiles are given dental care supplies and if appropriate for the sport they participate in, a fitted mouth guard.  In 2013, screenings were provided to more than 500 Special Olympics athletes.

“Partnering with Special Olympics to improve the smiles of their athletes truly exemplifies our mission,” stated Ann Boson, Director of Delta Dental of Wisconsin’s Charitable Fund. “Individuals with intellectual disabilities have more oral health problems than the general population, so it’s important that we continue to work to reduce the number of athletes with urgent dental needs.”

After the screening, if an individual is found to have an urgent unmet dental need, SOWI staff works with the athlete and/or their guardian to assist them in finding the care they need. For more information about Special Olympics Special Smiles, visit


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