Delta Dental of Kentucky’s Making Smiles Happen® awards sizable grant to Dental Lifeline Network
Denver, Colo. – October 10, 2016 – Over $190,000 in funding from Delta Dental of Kentucky’s charitable initiative, Making Smiles Happen®, will open the door for hundreds of vulnerable Kentuckians to receive the comprehensive pro bono dental care they desperately need.
Kentucky Donated Dental Services (DDS), a program of Dental Lifeline Network • Kentucky, provides Kentuckians with disabilities, or who are elderly or medically fragile and have no other access to dental treatment, the opportunity for dental care. Delta Dental of Kentucky and the Kentucky Dental Association are co-founders of the program which has already provided more than $60,000 worth of dental aid to several Kentuckians. “We recognize the suffering experienced by so many who cannot afford dental care,” said Dr. Clifford Maesaka, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Kentucky. “Making treatment available through the DDS program for Kentucky, based on the long-term success of DDS in other states, will significantly change lives,” he said, noting that dental care is not covered under Medicare, and is very limited for adults receiving Medicaid.
A DDS Coordinator screens patients for eligibility, arranges for assistance from specialists and laboratories, and facilitates arrangements between patients and dentists’ offices. Qualified patients are treated for extensive dental problems, such as root canals and fillings rather than basic cleanings and checkups. Treatment takes place in the offices of general practitioners and specialists who volunteer during regular office hours to provide full and sustainable care to patients. Dental laboratories also generously donate their resources to each treated DDS recipient. Before this Making Smiles Happen grant to DDS can be fully effective, more dentists are needed to volunteer their services to support this program. “While the funding of the mission is important, we are in great need of more Kentucky dentists to open their offices and hearts to this cause,” said Maesaka.
Program goals include recruiting a network of several hundred volunteer dentists as well as volunteer dental laboratories. Dental Life Network is a national organization, and Kentucky joins 44 other state networks that collectively served more than 7,100 people last year. DDS in Kentucky currently has 180 individuals on the waiting list for necessary dental care. However, there is a significant demand for additional dentists and laboratories to volunteer for those in need to receive treatment. Volunteer dentists are asked to take on one patient per year. Dentists and laboratories interested in volunteering can sign up at www.DentalLifeline.org/Volunteer.
Since the first DDS program was established over 30 years ago, more than 111,000 people nationwide have received over $330 million in dental treatment through a national network of 15,000 dentists and 3,700 laboratories.
“Too many people endure seriously-neglected dental problems that they alone cannot resolve,” said Fred Leviton, president of Dental Lifeline Network. “After years of being unable to afford treatment, these patients’ disabilities or medical conditions are simply devastating. Thanks to DDS, their lives literally are transformed by the generous DDS volunteer dentists, dental laboratories and supporters like Delta Dental that make this program possible,” he noted.
About Delta Dental of Kentucky and Making Smiles Happen®:
Delta Dental of Kentucky is committed to bright smiles and healthy lifestyles for its 700,000 enrollees and the communities we serve. Delta Dental of Kentucky is part of a family of companies that collectively are among the largest, most experienced dental plan administrators in the nation. Our network of providers gives our customers access to high-quality, affordable dental care.
Making Smiles Happen® is Delta Dental of Kentucky’s promise to serve our communities and residents one smile at a time. Aimed with the task of promoting oral health to the citizens of Kentucky, this initiative supports many non-profit partners. Giving back is a core component of our culture at Delta Dental, and Making Smiles Happen enables this support to be given to organizations that champion a better quality of life for citizens throughout our Commonwealth.
About Dental Lifeline Network:
Dental Lifeline Network is a national dental charity providing access to comprehensive dental care for people with disabilities or who are elderly or medically fragile and have no other way to get help. Through the overwhelming generosity of 15,000 volunteer dentists, 3,700 volunteer laboratories, dental products manufacturers and distributors and local communities, DLN transforms lives through the delivery of life-sustaining and even lifesaving care. These volunteers have provided over $330 million in dental treatment to more than 111,000 people in all 50 states and the District of Columbia since the start of the first program more than 30 years ago.