Fones School of Dental Hygiene will provide free dental care for kids and teens on Jan. 29-30. Part of nationwide Give Kids a Smile program.

Fones School of Dental Hygiene will offer free dental cleanings and other care to children and teenagers during Give Kids a Smile, the American Dental Association’s major outreach program that provides low-income children with much-needed care.

Appointments will be offered from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, January 29 and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, January 30 at the Fones Dental Hygiene Clinic located at the University of Bridgeport Health Sciences Center, 60 Lafayette Street, Bridgeport.

To schedule an appointment, please call the clinic at (203) 576-4137. Free services include cleanings and X-rays. Cavity-preventive sealants, which typically cost $120 in private practices, also will be offered for free.

“We know there’s a big need in the community, so we’re urging families to take advantage of the program,” said Carmen Hufcut, a visiting professor at Fones School. “We have bilingual student hygienists who speak Spanish, Polish, Russian, and other languages, so we hope this helps make it easier for kids to get the care they need.”

Each year, American students miss more than 750,000 school days because of dental-related illnesses, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Moreover, dental decay is among the most common diseases among children, affecting 59 percent of kids between the ages of 5 and 17.

Each year, Fones School of Dental Hygiene participates in a variety of programs like Give Kids a Smile and treats up to 13,000 patients annually throughout Connecticut who might otherwise not be able to afford care.

Low-cost treatments are available at the Fones Dental Hygiene Clinic for $5 for children, $10 for seniors, and $20 for adults. Fones also works with over 50 area partners, providing oral health services at clinics at Norwalk Hospital, Bridgeport’s Southwest Community Health Center, Tisdale Elementary School in Bridgeport, Yale-New Haven Hospital’s Dental Clinic, and at numerous other agencies in Middlesex, New Haven, and Fairfield Counties.

Fones School of Dental Hygiene was founded in 1913 by Bridgeport dentist Dr. Alfred Fones, who is credited with coining the term “dental hygiene.” Dr. Fones was inspired to train the first class of dental hygienists after seeing so many poor children from the Bridgeport suffering from dental decay.

Media contact: Leslie Geary, (203) 576-4625,