James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine
The College of Dental Medicine first launched its Special Smiles Dental Health Program at the South Carolina Special Olympics in 2001.The games bring together athletes with intellectual disabilities from all over the state. The coordinator of the Special Smiles Dental Health Program is Dr. Carlos Salinas. Through the Special Olympics, Dr. Salinas recognized an opportunity to increase awareness for dental health issues in persons with mental retardation, their families and their coaches. This program also provides a rewarding experience for the dentists, dental students, dental hygienists and volunteers, and it's a learning experience for both patient and professional.
The Special Smiles Program consists of giving oral dental health screenings to provide the athlete with a report card of oral health status. The project now numbers more than 100 sites in the United States and abroad.