WEST ALLIS, WIS., Oct. 5, 2012 – Two-hundred and sixty disabled, senior, poor and uninsured adults across the Badger State received $804,215 in comprehensive dental treatment at no cost to them from some 546 volunteer dentists between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012 under the Wisconsin Dental Association Foundation’s Donated Dental Services program. In addition, 101 dental laboratories gave $64,470 in materials and services.
“I can’t express enough how pleased and appreciative I am to the DDS program and Dr. ‘D’. The procedure I received has changed my life immeasurably,” one Milwaukee patient wrote.
“I no longer suffer the depression and shame which was a major part of my life. I’m looking forward to visiting my grandchildren this summer sporting a beautiful smile. In closing, I would like to say thank you…for giving me a new and happier life…,” his thank you note concluded.
Many DDS patients generally need extensive dental work that can include bridges, crowns or dentures at a cost of about $3,500 per person.
DDS patients do not qualify for government assistance programs and cannot afford dental care, because a permanent disability, chronic illness or advanced age restricts their income-earning capability. Patients are selected on the basis of financial need and a phone interview with a referral coordinator. A patient candidate then visits a volunteer dentist who assesses dental need and decides whether to accept the financial and clinical responsibilities of providing comprehensive dental care for the individual.
The state of Wisconsin, Delta Dental of Wisconsin and WDA Insurance and Services Corp. provide limited monetary support for administrative and lab costs. In the past, participating dentists have donated more than $8 in clinical expertise, treatment and materials for every dollar in funding from the three entities and more than $13 in care for every dollar the state contributes to the program.
“This program changes lives! That is why I participated. When one DDS patient first came in, she wasn’t taking care of herself. Once she had teeth she started to care about herself and would speak to people again! She gained confidence,” shared a volunteer dentist from De Pere, Wis.
October is National Dental Hygiene Month and a good time to remember that the U.S. Surgeon General recognizes oral health as an integral part of a person’s total health. Studies show poor oral health may be linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and oral cancer.
The “2010 – Burden of Oral Disease in Wisconsin” issued by the Department of Health Services shows 15 percent of adults between the ages of 65 and 74 years old in the state are toothless compared to a national “Healthy People 2010” expectation of 20 percent.
The Wisconsin Dental Association and its more than 3,000 member dentists and dental hygienists believe residents should obtain proper dental treatment with a doctor of oral health as the primary care provider. The health of its residents is important to Wisconsin economically and socially, and good oral health is directly tied to good overall health.
Donated Dental Services was established in 1998. Since then, volunteer dentists have given more than $7.6 million in care to 2,765 patients; dental labs contributed nearly $559,000 in additional supplies and services. Visit WDA.org for more information on this charitable care program.
Residents of Calumet, Dodge, Door, Fond du Lac, Grant, Green, Jefferson, Kenosha, Kewaunee, La Fayette, Manitowoc, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Rock, Sheboygan, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha and Winnebago counties interested in applying for DDS Program services should contact Program Director Carol Shoemaker at 888-338-6852. Residents of all other Wisconsin counties should call Program Coordinator Carrie Golabowski at 866-812-9840.
Tax-deductible donations in support of this statewide, charitable oral health program should be mailed to WDA Foundation, 6737 W. Washington St., Suite 2360, West Allis WI 53214. Please note “Donated Dental Services” in the check’s memo line. Or, visit the WDA Foundation’s “How you can help” page on WDA.org to donate online.