Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, more people than ever are without health and dental insurance, prompting them to seek care at free and low-cost clinics. But the costs of personal protective equipment (PPE) have increased at the same time, leaving many free and low-cost clinics unable to meet this increase in demand for their services and facing the risk of closure.
To help free clinics combat this shortage of funds and supplies, the Dr. Kevin M. Kenny Foundation and ASDA District 11 are organizing eight free webinars that provide continuing education credits for dental professionals.
Topics will be chosen to prepare dental professionals for a successful career in dentistry and practice ownership. Dental manufacturers can sponsor the courses. All donations raised from sponsors will support free clinics across California in purchasing the PPE needed to continue providing services to those in need.
For example, the UCSD Student-Run Free Dental Clinics reported that the previously were able to obtain PPE donations at conventions. But dental conventions have gone virtual this year, making it difficult to solicit donations. Their clinics need sufficient PPE, though, to ensure that they remain open and that their volunteers can continue to provide care at no cost.
These free clinics serve those who otherwise would not have access to dental care, the Dr. Kevin M. Kenny Foundation said.
“My teeth are in poor condition. I have a big beautiful smile, but it was affected. I wasn’t getting help from anywhere. I didn’t have the resources nor the money,” said Suezy, a patient at Homeless Not Toothless.
For the past year, Suezy suffered from dental pain because she couldn’t find a dentist that would take her Medi-Cal insurance. Only a free clinic was willing to help here. If free clinics cannot get PPE, the foundation said, many people like her would be left without care.