Michigan is home to thousands of disabled and elderly citizens who have seriously neglected their dental problems and who are in desperate need of treatment. As a practicing general dentist or specialist, you can help.
Volunteer for the Donated Dental Services program, a joint venture of the Michigan Dental Association and the National Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped, a charitable affiliate of the American Dental Association. The program, established in 1995, provides treatment to these citizens to resolve their dental problems.
Because of there disabilities or age, many of the patients cannot work. Lacking job income, they depend on government assistance for their health care. Medicare, however, does not provide dental benefits and Michigan's Medicaid program limits eligibility, procedures and the frequency of procedures it covers for adult recipients. And, many dentists do not participate in Medicaid making access impossible for many recipients.
More than $13 million in treatment!
Since starting the program in 1995, the Michigan Donated Dental Services dentist and dental lab volunteers have contributed more than $13 million worth of services to 5,191 disabled or aged people who had no other way of getting needed care.
Donated Dental Services has set a goal of providing $1.385 million worth of treatment for 505 individuals this year. During the first half of the fiscal year, , DDS volunteers completed $708,905 worth of donated treatment to 244 individuals across the state were treated requiring 2,242 dental procedures, or an average of 9.19 procedures per person. An additional 424 patients were referred to dentists and were receiving care at the end of the quarter.
Meanwhile, dental labs have donated $70,948 worth of dental fabrication this fiscal year. This is on pace to meet the $124,000 goal.
Why are more volunteers necessary?
Since volunteer recruiting began in the fall of 1995, the cadre of volunteer dentists has grown to 849: 424 in the southeastern part of the state and 425 more in the rest of Michigan. In addition, 239 dental laboratories donate most of the fabrications needed by patients treated.
Of the 849 dentists, 249 are specialists, leaving 600 dentists available for initial referrals. Further, most dentists treat only one person per year because of the comprehensive needs of the patients. With 244 patients treated thus far this fiscal year, 424 active cases, and 253 individuals waiting for care, the volunteers are well-utilized and we could always use more help.
You can help.
Call one of the Donated Dental Services Program coordinators listed below and volunteer. Most Donated Dental Services program volunteers treat just one patient a year, making a minimal time commitment on your part. Yet your involvement is so appreciated by the people who really need dental treatment.
How to volunteer.
Dentists and individuals interested in learning more about the program can contact the following offices:
(Lapeer, Lenawaee, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw and Wayne counties.)
- Sarah Schepers, coordinator
- Domonique Wojciechowski, coordinator