DDS Program

PROGRAM COORDINATOR

The DDS program coordinator is the link between needy patients and volunteer dentists. The coordinator brings these two groups of people together and provides support, ensuring that the interaction is rewarding for both parties. Patients are referred on the basis of location and specific oral health need. The coordinator has been trained to deal with a variety of situations and enables treatment to be successfully completed. The program coordinator is the person the patient and dentist contact with questions or concerns.

A typical patient hopes to find dental treatment, get relief from dental pain, and to restore the ability to chew properly. In addition to this, many patients find renewed self-esteem, dignity, and self-confidence. Others find improved general health once they are able to eat a proper diet again. Many find a smile they once thought was gone forever.

PATIENT

Each patient’s application is carefully screened by the patient coordinator. A telephone interview with the patient or the patient’s representative is conducted. The eligibility criteria are straightforward. Qualified applicants must have a permanent physical or mental disability or be critically ill. The patient must lack personal or outside resources for dental care and must have significant oral disease.

There is a strict compliance policy. Patients must keep appointments, be on time, and comply with the dentist’s plan of treatment. The coordinator assists with planning, taking into consideration physical accessibility problems, unpredictable illness and transportation.

DENTISTS

The dentists are not paid for any of the services provided to the program. The dentists who volunteer for the program are motivated by a desire to give something back to the patient’s community that supports their practice. For many dentists, the opportunity to get to know the referred patient and feel that they have made a significant and personal contribution is the greatest reward of all.

REFERRALS

The patient coordinator works with the treating dentist in finding laboratories that will provide free or discounted services. Dentsply provides all replacement teeth to the program without charge to those laboratories offering a fifty percent discount or greater to the MFDH. The coordinator also arranges all referrals to needed specialists.

LABORATORIES

The laboratories that donate their services are often motivated by a desire to support the dental community in its efforts and to perform a valuable civic duty. Their donations of free or discounted laboratory services are given, despite the fact that they almost never meet the patient being helped. Some laboratories feel an added reward in strengthening a bond with a dentist by helping on a donated case. Other times, a DDS case may be an opportunity for a laboratory to show its work to a new dentist.

COMPLETED TREATMENT

When a patient’s treatment is completed, the dentist completes and returns a value of treatment card that describes the value of the services performed. DDS is a one-time only service. However, some dentists continue to see patients on a discounted or donated basis.