The Jacksonville University School of Orthodontics has launched "1,000 Small Smiles Across Jacksonville," a year-long campaign in which graduate students will give free screenings to foster children.

There are more than 3,000 children in foster care in Jacksonville, and Laurance Jerrold, DDS, JD, dean of the JU School of Orthodontics, believes that good teeth can be a great help in overcoming the challenges they face. "It’s the first thing people see when you meet them. It’s what a person sees on a job interview. We use our teeth for chewing, smiling."

Jerrold says he hopes to screen 1,000 children over the next year. "We are starting the campaign in National Orthodontic Health Month (October) and will end it during the month next year."

The school will give away braces to 100 kids, with the school paying for 14 patients and relying on fund-raising to pay for the rest.

During the screening, Jerrold and his students will determine whether children need braces.

For more information on "1,000 Small Smiles Across Jacksonville," call (904) 256-7846.