Delta Dental of Tennessee will commit more than $3.3 million to Operation #SmilesMatter, a grant program to help dentists in the state acquire supplies, equipment, and technology to prepare to reopen their practices following COVID-19-related closures.
The company will fund a $1,000 “allowance” or credit available to all dentists in Tennessee regardless of whether they participate in Delta Dental’s network to purchase dental products. More information is available online.
“As dentists work with local health authorities to reopen and scale up their practices in the coming weeks, they face unprecedented challenges, from the loss of income to rehiring staff, and, above all, protecting the health and safety of everyone involved—dentists, staff, and patients,” said Phil Wenk, DDS, CEO and president of Delta Dental of Tennessee.
“During this difficult time, we hope this support helps ease the burden as dentists return to their practices and safely move beyond providing emergency-only care,” said Wenk.
Since mid-March at the recommendation of the ADA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most dental offices in the state have been closed for all but emergency care to help minimize the spread of COVID-19. Many dentists donated their personal protective equipment (PPE) supply to hospitals and frontline medical workers.
Routine preventive care such as annual cleanings and exams are critical to maintaining good oral and overall health, said Delta Dental, which hopes this initiative will help allow dental offices to safely resume offering essential care.
“Dental offices provide essential health services, and we want to help dentists get back to regular practice and caring for their patients, many of whom are our customers,” said Wenk.
“When left untreated, oral health diseases can quickly escalate, becoming more painful, complicated, and expensive to treat down the road, so we know how important it is for dentists to provide timely, attentive care,” said Wenk.