September 8, 2015- The Mississippi Donated Dental Services (DDS) program has reached $5 million in comprehensive dental care contributed to people with disabilities or who are elderly or medically fragile and cannot afford care. Mississippi DDS is operated by Dental Lifeline Network • Mississippi in conjunction with the Mississippi Dental Association.
“We are very pleased to announce that we have provided access to $5 million in donated care to 2,082 people since the Mississippi program was established 20 years ago,” said Dr. Hank Singley, co-chair of Dental Lifeline Network • Mississippi. “This milestone is due solely to the overwhelming generosity of 210 volunteer dentists and 36 volunteer labs who willingly offer their services to people in desperate need of treatment.”
“Mississippi 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 Connie Lane, Executive Director, Mississippi Dental Association. “We actively encourage our member dentists to volunteer.”
Dr. Sherry Gwin, co-chair of Dental Lifeline Network • Mississippi, noted that, despite the program’s success, 182 patients remain on wait lists for care and many more likely are eligible to apply. “People who are aged or have disabilities and can work often do not earn enough to seek dental care,” she said. “Others cannot work and depend on government assistance for their health care.” Medicare, however, does not cover dental treatment and Medicaid only provides emergency coverage which does not address the underlying dental problems that reoccur unless a patient can access comprehensive care.
“We are very proud of this $5 million milestone in donated care, but the need to help people is great and growing,” said Dr. Singley. “We can only address these problems if more dentists volunteer for Mississippi DDS. Dentists who are willing to help just one patient a year can change that person’s life.”
Volunteering is easy. A DDS volunteer sees patients in their own office on their own schedule and determines his or her own treatment plan. The dentist reviews the patient profile in advance and chooses to see or decline any patient. A DDS Coordinator serves as liaison between the dentist’s staff and the patient, ensures that the patient arranges for assistance from specialists and laboratories, and handles all paperwork. To volunteer for Mississippi DDS, contact Michelle Aiken, Mississippi Coordinator, at (601) 932-2200 maiken@DentalLifeline.org.
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, 2,800 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 $280 million in dental treatment to more than 100,000 people in all 50 states and the District of Columbia since the start of the first program in Colorado 30 years ago.
VP, Marketing and Communications
Annie K. Tolbert
Mississippi Dental Association