A nonprofit organization dedicated to providing free dental care to those in need, Dentistry from the Heart works with practices around the world to help underserved adults receive proper and safe treatment. The American Dental Association (ADA) reports that 48 percent of lower-income individuals have not seen a doctor in more than a year, and 20 percent of those earning less than $30,000 have not visited a dentist in more than five years.
Millions in need
Many Americans have challenges getting the dental care they need to maintain their overall health. Getting to dental offices, struggling with costs and having to juggle dental care along with other pressing obligations can all prevent people from taking care of their oral health. In addition, fewer people have dental insurance than medical insurance. And cultural and language barriers can sometimes make it difficult for patients to get basic information about good oral health practices. All of these factors have created an oral health crisis among the underserved population.
Making a difference
Charities like Dentistry from the Heart help fill a huge void in underserved populations by offering free dental care for people who have serious issues. Dental charities spread the word to those in need through press releases and customized YouTube videos that promote healthy practices and let patients know what services are available.
Every year, thousands of individual dentists, hygienists, volunteers and hundreds of practices donate their time and resources to host their own events in the community. While Dentistry from the Heart works with adults, other charities, like Give Kids a Smile, work with younger patients.
Helping at home
Klement Family Dental will host its fifth annual Dentistry from the Heart event on Oct. 20, where St. Petersburg area adults in need can receive either a cleaning, extraction or filling free of charge.
Many of the staff at Klement Family Dental have worked at events like this one and have seen the impact good dental care has on patients and the people who are volunteering their time. Patients who arrive in discomfort often leave with smiles and improved oral health.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that one-third of Americans have untreated tooth decay, which is why charities like Dentistry from the Heart and free dental care providers remain important.