$400,000 Grant to Support Free Dental Care for the Underserved

Dentistry Today


The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America will award a $400,000 grant to the Dental Lifeline Network (DLN) so the nonprofit organization can ramp up its volunteer dentist recruitment efforts and staffing to treat individuals who suffer from serious dental issues in Connecticut, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Virginia in 2019.

For example, Darrell is a Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam for four years and lives in the Chicago area. He had no dental coverage and had developed serious heart issues. His doctor recommended that he obtain oral health treatment to prevent complications since he had several missing teeth and many that were loose and decayed.

Through its flagship Donated Dental Services (DDS) program, DLN provides, comprehensive dental care to people like Darrell who desperately need comprehensive dental treatment and cannot get public aid. Guardian expects its grant to result in nearly $2.5 million in patient care, with every $1 given to DLN resulting in $8.87 in provided care.

“Guardian’s support of Dental Lifeline Network is a game changer for the organization and the people with special needs that we help,” said Fred Leviton, CEO of DLN. “In addition to funding services last year to help hundreds of people in Washington State, Guardian’s 2019 gift will support our volunteer dentists and labs in Connecticut, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Virginia that contribute life-changing and life-saving treatment for hundreds more of vulnerable individuals.”

“It’s great to have a partner like Dental Lifeline Network that shares our goal of providing access to quality dental care to the most vulnerable communities across the US,” said Chris Swanker, CEO of Avesis, a Guardian company. “As one of the leading commercial and government dental insurance providers, we are committed to help uninsured individuals who are disabled, elderly, or medically fragile receive the life-changing dental work they deserve.”

This grant follows last year’s $125,000 Guardian grant in the state of Washington, which helped begin to relieve the 147 cases backlogged due to insufficient funding. Since receiving the grant, DLN has increased its staffing and has provided comprehensive dental care to Washington’s most vulnerable residents.

This year’s grant will focus on leveraging DLN’s Will You See One campaign and help recruit volunteer dentists. Launched in 2017, the campaign encourages dentists to provide donated dental care and change lives within their communities. Last year’s campaign, Will You See One Vet, encouraged dentists to support veterans in need of comprehensive dental care. Through the DDS program, DLN provides care through 15,000 volunteer dentists and 3,700 volunteer dental laboratories.

“The DDS program helps patients with disabilities who can’t afford dental treatment. Volunteering as a dentist is very rewarding,” said Dr. Arnold Pfannenstiel, a DDS volunteer from Pennsylvania. “Giving back to the community, helping people who otherwise would neglect their dental care, puts a smile on your face, as well as the patient’s face.”

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