Topeka, KS – November 18, 2016 – Kansas Donated Dental Services (DDS), a program of Dental Lifeline Network • Kansas, celebrated a record year in 2015-2016 helping more patients in a year than ever before. More than 400 dentists and dental laboratories collaborated to provide $943,286 of donated dental care to 274 needy Kansans this past fiscal year, surpassing previous donated treatment values and numbers of patients seen in a year. In the 20 years of the Kansas DDS program, there have never been this many patients treated in a single year, and it is all thanks to amazing DDS volunteers. Individuals who are medically fragile, elderly, or who have a disability received dental care, which they could not have accessed without the generosity of volunteer dentists, dental specialists, labs and supporters of the Kansas DDS program.
Dental Lifeline Network is a national humanitarian organization that connects volunteer dental professionals with people who have no other resources to obtain the extensive care they need. These underserved individuals often depend on Medicare and Medicaid, which have few or no dental benefits for adults.
“This has been a record year for us, and our neighbors in Kansas are the ones who benefit,” said Dr. Stephen Zeller, president of Dental Lifeline Network • Kansas. “We look forward to continuing the momentum this next year.”
DDS patients like Kansas resident Therese has rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and was born with a cleft palate. She suffered painful decay and misaligned teeth. Often covering her mouth and not smiling, Therese needed full dentures. Thanks to DDS volunteer dentists and labs, she was able to get the help she needed.
“I am really, really happy with the outcome. It has 100 percent positively affected my life. I can eat better. I love that I can smile and not have to cover my mouth. I owe it all to Dr. Harris and DDS,” said Therese.
Over 400 approved patients are currently awaiting services, and the majority of DDS volunteers are already seeing a patient. More general dentists are needed to see a patient on the waitlist for a consultation. To coordinate services, the DDS program receives support from the Kansas Dental Association and funding from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the Kansas Bureau of Oral Health, Lewis H. Humphreys Charitable Trust and Delta Dental of Kansas.
“Kansas DDS is successful because of the wonderful dentists who donate their time and services to improve the lives of people suffering daily from severe dental problems and cannot afford care,” said Kevin Robertson, Executive Director Kansas Dental Association. “We actively encourage our member dentists to volunteer.”
Because of the pro bono services offered by dentists, every dollar of DDS funding provides $11.45 of patient care. Not only are patients’ lives changed, but dentists and labs benefit from the experience too.
“DDS is my favorite way to give back to the community. It’s nice to be able to help local people. DDS identifies the patient and the need and helps with the lab work. It’s trouble-free,” said Dr. Michael Harris, DLN • KS board member and DDS volunteer.
About Dental Lifeline Network:
Dental Lifeline Network is a national dental charity and charitable affiliate of the American Dental Association, 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 114, 000 people in all 50 states and the District of Columbia since the start of the first program more than 30 years ago.
Clair Diones, VP of Marketing and Communications