DENVER, Nov. 5, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Now exceeding $300 million in dental services donated to vulnerable people in desperate need of care, Dental Lifeline Network provides full-service treatment without cost to patients through its extensive volunteer network of dentists and dental laboratories.
People with permanent disabilities or who are elderly or medically fragile and cannot afford dental care may be eligible for DLN's Donated Dental Services (DDS) program which has served 107,000 people since it began 30 years ago in Colorado. Services are available in 50 states and Washington D.C. through DLN and its partner organizations. Its success is due to the generosity of 15,000 dentists and 3,700 labs that volunteer for DDS, according to Fred Leviton, DLN president.
"Many thousands of people in the U.S. suffer from painful dental conditions including fractured teeth, advanced periodontal disease and the inability to eat normally. After years of being unable to afford treatment, these patients' ages or disabilities make the burden of added dental disease devastating for them. Their lives are transformed through the safety net provided by DDS volunteers," he noted.
Chicago resident Amanda, age 34, has a birth defect that prevented her joints from fully developing. She worked at a bank, but now relies on disability benefits. Amanda types with her mouth. She cracked a tooth and, unable to afford dental care, postponed treatment. Eventually, she connected with the DDS program.
"Every single day that I have a healthy smile and a healthy mouth, I can do the things I need to do and feel confident," Amanda said. "You guys (DDS) did that for me . . thank you!"
More volunteer dentists are always needed. Chicago dentist Dr. David Gershenzon joined his father's practice, and began volunteering for DDS as his father, Dr. Richard Gershenzon, has done for many years.
"It's really meaningful to me to see the look on a patient's face after they've completed treatment and you've really helped improve their lives," Dr. David Gershenzon commented. "It gives me more meaning as to why I'm a dentist." Dr. Gershenzon and DDS patient Amanda are featured in a new video produced as a public service by the American Dental Association. (View at www.DentalLifeline.org).
Increasingly, patients who are medically fragile are referred to DDS. Dental health often is a prerequisite for cancer patients who need chemotherapy, candidates for organ transplants or kidney dialysis, people who require life-saving medications, cardiac patients requiring surgery, and patients with crippling arthritis who need joint replacements.
DLN grew through collaboration with state dental associations. Funding comes from state governments, foundations, some state Delta Dental plans, the dental trade industry and corporate and individual donors.
A charitable affiliate of the American Dental Association, DLN was founded in 1974 by chairman and CEO Dr. Larry Coffee, a graduate of Northwestern University Dental School. To learn more, visit www.DentalLifeline.org or call 888-471-6334.
SOURCE Dental Lifeline Network