Healthy Smiles of Spartanburg is a registered 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt charity, which has been delivering free screenings for all children as well as free dental care to children in uninsured or low-income families in the community since 2004.
The organization traces its beginnings to 2000, when a group of concerned citizens began meeting to discuss improving children’s oral health in Spartanburg County as a response to the “National Call to Action” by the nation’s Surgeon General.
In 2002, the group became the Spartanburg County Children’s Oral Health Task Force and, with funding from the Mary Black Foundation, gathered information on the dental care needs of children in the community. Later that year, they published the results of their research: Spartanburg County Children’s Oral Health Report: Needs Identification and Proposed Action Plans for Community Collaboration.
Additional funding from the Mary Black Foundation as well as the Spartanburg County Foundation and the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System Foundation was secured to develop a sustainable business plan for the initiative, and in 2003 Healthy Smiles of Spartanburg was incorporated.
Spartanburg Community College, formerly known as Spartanburg Technical College, served as fiscal agent for Healthy Smiles – providing space for offices as well as financial and technical services.
In 2007, Healthy Smiles began free dental screening for all school-age children, and opened a free dental care clinic for children in uninsured or low-income families on the college’s central campus.
Children were identified for free dental care through the Carol H. Drum Dental Screening Program provided by South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and the Spartanburg Health Department.
Healthy Smiles received funding in 2009 from Women Giving for Spartanburg to implement its own screening program for children in Spartanburg County.