Our Volunteers

Why Become a Volunteer?

More than 15,000 dentists and 3,700 laboratories nationwide volunteer for Donated Dental Services (DDS), Dental Lifeline Network’s flagship program. Last year, they provided $24.6 million in treatment to 7,100 patients.

Sign Up to Volunteer Now!


Why Volunteer?

Volunteering is easy.

“With DDS, we’re donating just our skills and time – there’s always room for that.”
– Dr. Patrick Hayashi, Hawaii

“Donating a denture, crown, (or) bridge for the DDS program is a small thing for our lab, but it is huge for the deserving patient that needs help.”
– Bob Edmonds, CDT, Owner, Edmonds Dental Prosthetics

What's Involved?

For Dentists:

A DDS Program Coordinator screens patients to determine that they qualify for the program and matches the patient with a volunteer dentist. The dentist examines the patient before deciding to provide treatment through DDS.
The volunteer dentist’s staff schedules appointments and advises the Program Coordinator when a specialist or laboratory is needed. The Coordinator arranges for any specialist or lab services.
Patients must arrive on time for appointments at the dentist’s office or risk being disqualified from the program.
When treatment is completed, the dentist reports the procedures performed and their value based on customary fees. No additional paperwork is required of the dentist or his or her staff. Some dentists continue seeing DDS patients at a discount or continue donating routine services, but that arrangement is between the volunteer and the patient and is entirely optional.

For Laboratories:

Many DDS patients need dentures, crowns or bridges, which require fabrication by dental laboratories. The National Association of Dental Laboratories (NADL) endorses the DDS program and many labs volunteer to donate these appliances.
Several companies make material donations. Arrangements for these donations are made by DDS:
– Teeth: Dentsply will replace teeth used for dentures for any DDS case in which the laboratory fabrications are donated. Ivoclar Vivadent and Vident also provide teeth.
– Crowns and Bridges: Argen and Ivoclar Vivadent pay for alloy a lab uses for DDS cases. 3M ESPE donates Lava blocks for zirconia restorations; Dentsply provides CERCON blocks and milling; and Ivoclar Vivadent contributes CEREC blocks, ingots and other restorative materials. Further, GC America donates ingots for its customers.
– Implants: Several manufacturers donate implants and components including: 3M ESPE (mini dental implants) Nobel Biocare, Straumann, and Zimmer Biomet. Zest Anchors also provides components.

Volunteer Spotlight

Donated Dental Services (DDS) volunteer Dr. Joseph Shea truly knows the value of volunteering. Here’s why:

Seventeen-year-old Katie suffered from Oculodentodigital Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that affects the teeth, eyes and fingers. Despite deep cleanings every six months, Katie’s teeth began crumbling to pieces. Her many surgeries, including the repair of a cleft palate and a hole in the roof of her mouth, began when Katie was six months old. Her parents couldn’t afford the care she needed and struggled to find a dentist who understood her condition and was willing to help.

Enter Dr. Joseph Shea, a St. Louis prosthodontist who seated Katie’s 28 temporary crowns the day before a smiling Katie went to prom. Seating the permanent crowns took three dental professionals nearly five hours to complete – and Katie did it all without anesthetic.

We salute Dr. Shea! Since 2008, he has donated more than $101,000 in prosthodontic treatment to people in desperate need of care. Thank you, Dr. Shea!

“Now I smile all the time. Dr. Shea is an incredible guy. I don’t know what I would have done without him.” – Katie

Thanks to the other heroes who helped Katie:

Valley Dental Arts, Stillwater, Minnesota, fabricated Katie’s 28 crowns at no charge
3M ESPE donated the material to make the crowns
Philips Sonicare contributed a free Sonicare toothrbrush
This page features some of the outstanding donations of DDS volunteers who represent the lifeline in Dental Lifeline Network by rescuing people who desperately need their help.

Volunteer Now

In 2014-2015, Donated Dental Services (DDS) provided more than $25.5 million in dental care to over 7,400 patients, but additional volunteers are needed. More than 11,000 patients are on wait lists for DDS services and tens of thousands more hope that wait lists will reopen so that they, too, can apply.

The DDS program needs volunteer dentists and laboratories nationwide, but needs vary somewhat from state to state and even within a state. To learn more about needs in your area, click on the map or on the list below to visit your specific state page and look for Volunteers Needed.