Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has declared June 15 through June 19 the fifth annual Tennessee Oral Health Smile Power Week. The event highlights the Tennessee Charitable Care Network (TCCN), an association of more than 50 safety net healthcare clinics across the state, including 17 dental clinics with 18 locations.
TCCN provides clinical care and educational programs and outreach. In 2019, the state’s safety net dental clinics provided 36,752 procedures to patients who otherwise may not have received care.
“During this time of unprecedented uncertainty, our clinics are more committed than ever to ensuring every Tennessean has access to quality oral healthcare in a safe environment, regardless of their ability to pay,” said TCCN executive director Mary Kiger. “And this work would not be possible without the generous and continued support of Delta Dental of Tennessee and its Smile180 Foundation.”
As dental offices resume nonemergency care, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the ADA have issued new safety guidelines. In addition to increased disinfection protocols, these recommendations include health screenings and temperature checks upon arrival and minimizing the number of people in the office.
Delta Dental of Tennessee has been focused on ensuring its clinic partners and all independent Tennessee dentists are supported as they return to work under these new safety guidelines, the company said.
Since its May 11 launch, Delta Dental’s Operation #SmilesMatter has helped dentists in Tennessee purchase supplies to reopen their offices with a commitment of more than $3.3 million, the company said. The Smile180 Foundation also donated $1.1 million to 24 safety net dental clinics in May.
“We are proud to support our clinic partners across the state and help kick off the fifth annual Smile Power Week,” said Dr. Phil Wenk, CEO and president of Delta Dental of Tennessee. “These clinics are an incredible resource to tens of thousands of Tennesseans who would not otherwise be able to access or afford essential care.”