The need for free national dental insurance for national oral health is at a crisis point in the United States. And many dentists have responded to volunteer their services to meet that need.
Here are some pro bono dentistry services for people without dental insurance. The providers are in the United States. And the list below is by no means exhaustive. New York University has a free dental program; there is also a network of free dental care providers through Remote Area Medical at http://www.ramusa.org/ or
Tel: 865-579-1530/ (1-877-5RAMUSA)
And there are also these clinics:
Pro Bono Dentistry Programs Elsewhere
A number of pro bono dental programs exist presently, but most of them are in the United States. Pro bono Dentist Jay Grossman of Los Angeles, California, has set up a model program for indigent people unable to afford dental care. On his website,he explains his motivation for providing the free dental service:
Dr. Grossman's idealistic urge to help people first led him into dentistry. Then, out of his participation in Landmark Education and the SELP program, he was inspired to found "Homeless Not Toothless,"
(www.homelessnottoothless.org) an innovative volunteer network of dentists willing to donate their services to homeless people.
"'I wanted to do something more proactive than just giving money.' Grossman says. 'I felt if we could provide the homeless and underserved with quality dental care, maybe it would raise their pride and dignity and help them gain employment.'
"People hear a lot about pro-bono legal work and free medical care for the poor, but the necessity for free dental care is often overlooked. Grossman says that's a mistake. 'Dental pain saps energy, concentration, and drive,' he notes. 'Unsightly or missing teeth turn off potential employers - this can perpetuate the vicious cycle of homelessness.'
"Grossman has ambitious plans for the program's expansion. Already several dozen Los Angeles-area dentists have agreed to be a part of the program and donate their services, and there is construction of a 3 - chair Dental office in Brentwood under-construction presently. Grossman envisions a rapid expansion of "Homeless Not Toothless" across the nation. 'If every dentist would give just one hour a month, the homeless would have no more dental needs," he says.'"
Other pro bono dental service clinics: Medical Education Campus of Northern Virginia Community College, Springfield, Virginia provides 600 people with free dental care, including cleanings, fillings, extractions and X-rays.
The Prince George's County Health Department, Maryland offers free services to uninsured pregnant women and children -- two groups that public health officials call the most vulnerable. The pro bono clinics care for the uninsured and, in some cases, those on Medicaid, in which only about 16 percent of Maryland's 5,500 dentists participate, according to the Maryland State Dental Association. Children of parents on social assistance are covered by Medicaid, including low reimbursement rates and bureaucracy, but private dentists often provide pro bono treatment to other indigent patients to cover the full cost of care. Prince George's County, Maryland provides dental care to uninsured pregnant women and children at two sites: the Cheverly Health Center, across the street from Prince George's Hospital Center, and a school-based clinic in Oxon Hill. A third site, in Suitland, opened in May.
Pro Bono dentist, Dr. Eugene K. Sakai, Vancouver, Washington, was the 2006 citizen of the year The Washington State Dental Association for his dedication to the dentally underserved in Southwest Washington through the Free Clinic of SW Washington. The clinic provides free medical and vision care for the uninsured through donations and volunteers, and which recently started a dental program. In July 2005, an anonymous donor gave a 31-foot motor home, now dubbed the Dental Express, which has become a dentist’s office on wheels. Sakai was involved with Smile Savers, a nonprofit agency that provided dental care to uninsured children and families, before it went out of business in 2004. Without the service, hundreds of Clark County residents had few places to turn for dental care. In response, Sakai, who also sits on the clinic’s dental advisory board, rallied local dentists to volunteer for the clinics in the Dental Express. Now, about 40 local dentists, dental assistants and hygienists volunteer through the Free Clinic of SW Washington, said Ann Gilbert,dental program coordinator. Federally funded health centers in Washington, DC, Virginia, Maryland and Delaware offer dental care regardless of a person's age or ability to pay.