State Program Offers Free Dental Care to Patients with Chronic Health Conditions
“I feel and look 10 years younger,” says a smiling Marsha Moseley. The 66-year-old received dental treatment through the Michigan Donated Dental Services program. Moseley, who has kidney disease and receives dialysis three times weekly, only had one tooth when she sought help from the program. She explored the possibility of getting dentures, but was unable to afford them. Dr. Robert Hoffman and Olde West End Dental Lab donated treatment to Moseley through the DDS program.
Eligible patients are connected with a volunteer dentist through a state grant that is approved by the legislature annually. Currently there are nearly 800 volunteer dentists across the state, and approximately 200 Michigan dental laboratories that donate dentures, partials, and other treatments that a patient may need.
The program serves older adults who are low income and uninsured, or who have a disability or chronic illness, as well as extensive dental needs. Many patients suffer a chronic health condition such as diabetes, heart disease, or cancer. DDS has provided $25.6 million in donated treatment to more than 6,950 Michigan patients since 1995.
Cosmetic care is not provided, only comprehensive care to ensure that the patient’s dental health is restored. The average value of dental treatment donated to each patient is $3,600. The program does not treat patients who are eligible for services through other programs, however, DDS will connect applicants with programs they are eligible for but may not be aware of.
Patients who may be eligible can learn more and print an application at www.smilemichigan.com/dds or call the Southeast Michigan Coordinator Karn Cornell at 517.346.9455.