Dentists Asked to Treat One Underserved Patient

Dentistry Today


Dental Lifeline Network (DLN) is launching its Will You See One campaign to recruit dentists to volunteer to treat just one otherwise underserved patient. For more than 30 years, DLN’s Donated Dental Services (DDS) program has facilitated donated, comprehensive care to vulnerable people with disabilities, the elderly, and the medically compromised.

“It is very rewarding to work through DDS. It allows us to provide services that are sometimes desperately needed but not affordable, improving not only a person’s health but their appearance and self-esteem,” said Gregory Cecil, DMD, a DDS volunteer dentist in Kentucky. “It is always a joy to see someone smile again.”

Since 1985, DDS has provided $330 million in donated dental care and treated 117,000 people. Last year, the DDS network of 15,000 volunteer dentists and 3,700 volunteer laboratories provided $24.6 million in treatment to 7,100 patients. However, DLN reports that it still has 11,000 people on its waiting list.

DDS program coordinators screen patients to determine that they qualify and match them with volunteer dentists. Next, the dentists examine the patients before deciding to provide treatment through DDS.

Each dentist’s staff schedules appointments and advises the program coordinator when a specialist or laboratory is needed. The coordinator then arranges for those services. Patients must arrive on time for appointments or risk being disqualified. When treatment is complete, dentists report the procedures performed and their values based on customary fees.

No additional paperwork is required from the dentist or the dentist’s 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.

“We are excited to launch this comprehensive national awareness campaign that highlights the life-changing difference our volunteers have on this vulnerable population,” said Fred Leviton, CEO of DLN. “We hope that sharing this message will inspire even more dentists to volunteer for our program, which in turn allows us to serve more people in our communities.”

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