Wis. dental association hits $6M charitable care milestone

Over the past 12 years, 2,260 disabled, senior, poor, and uninsured Wisconsin adults have received more than $6.1 million in free, comprehensive oral healthcare through the Wisconsin Dental Association (WDA) Foundation's Donated Dental Services (DDS) program, according to the organization.

This charitable care milestone was achieved through the efforts of 668 volunteer WDA member dentists who donated their time, financial resources, and professional expertise. In addition, 147 dental laboratories have given more than $452,000 in supplies and services, the WDA said.

This year, the DDS program delivered an estimated $801,000 in care. These patients generally require extensive dental work that can include bridges, crowns, or dentures for a per-person cost of about $3,200.

The state of Wisconsin, Delta Dental of Wisconsin, and WDA Insurance and Services provide monetary support for administrative and lab costs. Participating dentists donate more than $8 in clinical expertise, treatment, and materials for every $1 in funding from the three entities or more than $13 in care for every $1 the state pays into the program, the WDA said.

DDS patients do not qualify for government assistance programs and cannot afford dental care, because a permanent disability, chronic illness, or advanced age restricts their income-earning capability.

One recent dentist-patient match involved WDA member Michael Schneidler, D.D.S., and a woman named Lolita who had been without teeth for 20 years. After several appointments and seven hours, Dr. Schneidler and his dental team provided Lolita with two full dentures, the WDA said.

"What we like about the DDS program is we get to meet patients like Lolita who are so thankful for our services and whose lives we hopefully change," Dr. Schneidler said. "What a smile!"

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