Grant supports unmet dental services

July 19, 2018

Many disabled or elderly Washington state residents suffer from painful dental diseases that go untreated because of high costs and lack of insurance.

A new $125,000 grant will alleviate a backlog of 147 such dental procedures in the state stalled because of insufficient funding, a nonprofit group said.

The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America on June 25 awarded the grant, which equates to $1 million in comprehensive dental care when calculating volunteer dentists and labs, a news release said. The funds went to Dental Lifeline Network, a national nonprofit and affiliate of the American Dental Association that works to improve the oral health of vulnerable populations.

To accelerate treatment of backlogged cases, the nonprofit said it will increase staff hours and identify volunteer dentists who can commit to treating patients.

The DLN group estimated that every $1 from Guardian equates to $8.87 in care. Although dentists and labs donate their services, funding such as Guardian’s is needed to support that volunteer work, said Fred Leviton, CEO, Dental Lifeline Network.

Washington residents eligible to receive the care are ones who have disabilities, are elderly or medically fragile and suffer from dental diseases that can make eating and communicating difficult.

Through its Donated Dental Services program, Dental Lifeline Network provides comprehensive dental care through a U.S. network of 15,000 volunteer dentists and 3,700 volunteer labs. In 2017, DLN launched its “Will You See One” campaign targeting dentists with the message that donated dental care can change or even save lives.

To support Dental Lifeline Network, call (888) 623-2780 or visit WillYouSeeOne.org. Learn more or donate by going online to DentalLifeline.org.