by Brenda Goeden, South Dakota Dental Foundation
Last year, South Dakota dentists donated their services to help 144 disadvantaged people who needed extensive dental care but couldn’t afford treatment. This free care is offered in special circumstances through the Donated Dental Services (DDS) Program from the South Dakota Dental Foundation.
The DDS Program is available to the elderly, disabled, or medically fragile who have no other means to get the comprehensive care they need.
The results can be life changing for the patient. “I can’t even put into words how much my life has changed since having my dental treatment,” a recent patient from Spearfish wrote. “I don’t have to be embarrassed or self-conscious about my teeth. I can now go places I avoided. Thank you again for your help and being so kind to me.”
There are 198 dentists and dental specialists and 22 dental labs across South Dakota who have volunteered to be part of this special program. That’s half of all dentists in the state, and is the highest participation rate in the nation for Dental Lifeline Network programs.
The DDS program began in 1998. More than 1,590 patients have received care to date totaling $4.7 million in treatment. Unfortunately, the requests for assistance are received faster than they can be treated, and there are currently more than 390 pending applications.
More dentist volunteers are always welcome and it can mean as much for the dentist as the patient. Dr. Jeri Scranton, Rapid City, said, “Working with the Donated Dental Program is so rewarding — no doubt I get more from it than the patients! And the labs and specialists are great to work with — so generous with their time and services.”
More information for dentists or prospective patients is available from the Donated Dental Services Program by calling 1-866-551-8023.
*Note: The Delta Dental of South Dakota Foundation proudly supports the Donated Dental Services Program with a financial contribution each year to the S.D. Dental Foundation for the program’s administration. Opinions expressed by guest bloggers are their own and do not represent views of Delta Dental of South Dakota.