E-News Briefs July 2015

From Fred Leviton


Since early this year, our senior team has been working on an environmental scan of key internal and external audiences and factors to guide our strategic plan. This issue of Dental Lifeline e-News Briefs highlights a major piece of the scan: feedback from stakeholders including volunteer dentists who are integral to the success of our flagship Donated Dental Services (DDS) program.

DLN Environmental Scan 

DLN conducted an Environmental Scan in March to evaluate how to improve our effectiveness. The scan had five components:

1. Stakeholder Survey including feedback from volunteer dentists

2. Volunteer Laboratories – an in-depth executive study

3. Affordable Care Act – analysis of potential impact on DLN and its programs

4. Employee Survey

5. Charitable Dental Organizations – a comparative study

DLN Stakeholder Survey. In late March, nearly 6,600 key DLN stakeholders, including over 6,000 Donated Dental Services (DDS) volunteer dentists, received an email survey. Response was over 10 percent.

The survey revealed perceptions of the organization’s value, services, and strengths and weaknesses. These results will be extremely helpful to staff, state boards and leadership councils, and our national board in our ongoing strategic planning. We received many invaluable comments in addition to very constructive data.

A Key Finding: Respondents told us we need to improve local/national collaboration as summarized in the following comment:

“Involve the state boards with suggestions for strategic planning, and share the directions and conclusions of the National Board through a webinar. This collaboration will help DLN move forward cohesively on a national level and work strategically on a state level.”

Additional key findings will be included in upcoming DLN e-News Briefs.

State Spotlight

Collaboration Expands Iowa DDS 

Dental Lifeline Network • Iowa has increased its program caseload by 20 percent, thanks to the support of the DLN • Iowa Leadership Council chaired by Dr. Jay Davidson and the collective efforts of Delta Dental of Iowa, the Iowa Dental  Association and the State of Iowa.With lobbying support from Delta Dental, the Iowa Legislature increased funds needed to screen and match patients in desperate need of treatment with Iowa’s 232 DDS volunteer dentists. Now that the Iowa  DDS Program can serve more patients, more volunteers are needed.  Governor Terry Branstad is doing his part by sending personalized letters in early July, encouraging additional dentists to volunteer and thanking the current volunteer base.

Volunteers and Dental Manufacturers

Help Patient with Special Needs

South Carolina resident Drew, age 19, was born with a genetic skin condition that caused numerous skin cancers on his face and around his mouth. He could no longer use his removable denture nor maintain good oral hygiene. Drew lives with his mother who also has disabilities, and their fixed income could not cover the treatment he needed.

Dr. Michael Miller, a volunteer general dentist, and Dr. Thomas McDonald, a DDS volunteer oral surgeon, determined that a bridge supported by four implants was the best solution. Dr. McDonald placed the implants and Dr. Miller donated the bridge fabricated by Progressive Dental Arts, a volunteer dental lab. Components for the bridge were contributed by DENTSPLY International and Ivoclar Vivadent, and the implants were a gift from Straumann. Donated treatment exceeded $111,000, an extraordinary amount for a DDS case that reflects the amazing commitment of these wonderful volunteers.

“Words just can’t say how grateful we are. It has changed Drew’s life and made it so much better.” – Linda, mother of Drew 

“Andrew’s treatment allowed him the ability to chew. My biggest payment and my best reward was seeing Andrew smile.” – Dr. Michael Miller 

Drew’s case is one of many in which material donations contributed by manufacturers are vital to the DDS program. These donations support the work of volunteers and offset direct costs of labs.

We salute these manufacturers and express our deepest gratitude for their generosity:

DENTSPLY  International provides teeth for dentures, Cercon blocks and milling

Argen pays for alloy used by labs.

Ivoclar Vivadent also donates alloy, teeth and CEREC blocks, ingots and other restorative materials.

3M ESPE donates Lava blocks for zirconia restorations and mini-implants.

Biomet 3i, Nobel Biocare, Straumann and Zimmer Dental contribute implants and components. Zest Anchors also provides components.

Shatkin F.I.R.S.T., LLC donates mini-implants and laboratory services.

American Dreamer

Book Benefits Dental Lifeline Network

Co-founder of A-dec, Ken Austin has added to his generous support of Dental Lifeline Network by donating the proceeds of his new book, American Dreamers, to DLN.

Ken and his wife Joan (who passed away in 2013) have been long-time supporters of DLN through their personal contributions and leadership in DentaCheques, the dental products coupon book that funds expansion of the Donated Dental Services (DDS) program through its sales.

 American Dreamers is a story of how two farm kids changed the lives of many people. Starting with humble roots in rural Oregon, Ken and Joan grew A-dec from a kitchen table operation into one of the world’s largest manufacturers of dental equipment.

To learn more and to purchase the book, published by Oregon State University Alumni Association with Kerry Tymchuk, click here


Our DentaCheques program is celebrating its 25th Anniversary in a big way this year with the launch of the electronic version called e-DentaCheques.

For the past 25 years, dentists have been saving money on dental supplies and equipment for their practices by taking advantage of the coupon offers they receive when they purchase DentaCheques.  Supported by major dental supply companies and manufacturers, DentaCheques is a dentist’s best source for special offers and discounts. All proceeds from sales of DentaCheques fund expansion of the Donated Dental Services (DDS) program.

Learn more about e-DentaCheques here