Many adults cannot afford dental care, especially our community’s most vulnerable residents. Dental Lifeline Network provides comprehensive dental care to adults with special needs across the United States. These patients receive this care through the generosity of a network of volunteer dentists and laboratories.
In 1974, a young dental student dreamed of making a diﬀerence in oral health by changing the lives of people with developmental disabilities including his beloved sister, Barbie. He believed if diseases could be prevented, future generations would never be impacted by seriously neglected dental problems. The dreams of that dental student, Dr. Larry Coﬀee, became Dental Lifeline Network, a national humanitarian organization that has changed and saved the lives of thousands of people with disabilities, who are elderly or are medically fragile.
Soon after graduating from dental school, Dr. Coffee founded the National Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped in Colorado, which later was renamed Dental Lifeline Network. In the first several years, the organization focused on educating and helping people with disabilities improve their oral health through hygiene training.
Inspired by his passion, soon other dedicated oral health care advocates and partners across the dental industry joined in the cause. Several years later, in 1985, the Donated Dental Services (DDS) program was created, expanding critical services to include aging adults, veterans and other individuals with dental needs that were medically compromised. What began as a local Colorado network of volunteer dentists and labs spread nationwide, now surpassing over 166,000 patients served.
Fred Leviton succeeded Dr. Coffee as the CEO, and in 2021 DLN announced the major milestone of $500M in donated dental treatment.This celebration was made possible with the support of 39,000 dentists, 6,500 laboratories and 15,400 Partners, donors and supporters.
Fred Leviton retired in 2022 and Lynda Ricketson joined as the new President/CEO of Dental Lifeline Network. Ricketson looks forward to leading the organization to reach its next milestone in partnership with staff, board leaders and other strategic partners.
We change the lives of America’s most vulnerable adults through
our coordinated system of care.
The Donated Dental Services (DDS) program provides free, comprehensive dental treatment to our country’s most vulnerable people with disabilities or who are elderly or medically fragile. In addition, we support many veterans through our DDS program. These are people who cannot afford necessary treatment and cannot get public aid. The program operates through a volunteer network of 15,000 dentists and 3,400 dental labs across the United States. Since its inception in 1985, our DDS program has surpassed $500 million in donated dental therapies, transforming the lives of 165,600 people.
The Colorado Campaign of Concern (COC) Program provides oral hygiene training for individuals with developmental or intellectual disabilities and their caregivers, family, or support staff. Individuals with a developmental or intellectual disability are taught proper techniques and provided materials needed to ensure a healthy mouth. Caregivers, family, or support staff are educated on the signs, symptoms and treatment of oral health disease as well as good oral hygiene habits, adaptive tools and techniques, and behavior management skills.
This dental outreach program has been in operation since 1976 and has since continued to assist staff, family, and individuals in maintaining good oral health. The COC also helps to match clients who need dental care with a dentist who can provide the services. Campaign of Concern operates throughout the state of Colorado.
Harm from dental diseases extends beyond teeth, especially for people who face additional medical challenges such as cancer or diabetes. Many are unaware of the connection until dental treatment becomes medically necessary. Download these fact sheets to distribute to your patients.
Beyond Teeth Series-Patient Education
We also have a Health Checklist to use along with those sheets. Patients can have the opportunity to check off various health issues they or a family member may have. This way you know what your patient’s needs are from the start.
in Donated Treatment
Our board of directors is a diverse group of leaders in the dental profession, the dental industry, and public policy advocates who help guide and lead the organization.
Dental Lifeline Network’s headquarters is in Denver, CO and is home to many of our national staff as well as some state coordinators.
State programs thrive with a combination of state dental association support, strong state boards and leadership councils, and Program Coordinators who screen patients to qualify them for services, match them with volunteer dentists and labs, and coordinate the care through the treatment plan.
Apart from the free survey software, we also have access to QuestionPro’s free survey templates . We’ve found many of them useful and powerful to collect insights from various stakeholders of our organization.