Free Dental Care Clinics Struggle to Meet Demand

Wednesday Dedicated to Financial Issues

Further transitioning into the new format explained in Tuesday’s post, I’ve decided to dedicate Wednesday to writing about financial and insurance issues affecting both dental professionals and consumers. In the economy that we’re all operating in today, I expect to have some interesting information to share with you in this area. Even if you loathe the idea of a financial focus, I’ll do all I can to make it as relevant and interesting as possible.

Free Dental Clinics Struggling to Meet the Need

The inaugural “Financial Post of the Week” focuses on a piece run recently by, entitled, “Lining Up For Free Dental Care“. As part of an ongoing series, appropriately called “The Other America,” this piece highlights the efforts of volunteer dental professionals to meet the bigger-than-ever demand for free dental care services

Why is the demand so high

Well, this one’s easy. Unless you’ve been living under a rock(I’m assuming you haven’t been), you probably understand that the economy is struggling in virtually all areas. Unfortunately, the Health Care is one of the hardest hit.

What is the demand?

Once simply inflated, healthcare prices are now borderline unaffordable for many Americans. Sadly, dental care is often the first healthcare services to go when money is tight. In fact, more than 1 in 3 Americans are living without some form of dental insurance. That’s more than 100 million Americans!

Who’s Helping?

Volunteers from across the country are organizing free dental care clinics for patients in need. Bruce Bergstrom, head of America’s Dentists Care Foundation, is one such volunteer who organizes free dental clinics around the country. At a recent stop in Loveland, Colorado, Bergstrom recalled seeing patients who had lined up at 1am to ensure their chance to receive free dental care services. “At 5 a.m. the line wraps around a block,” says Bergstrom. “Isn’t that tragic?” Bergstrom said. “It really is. To me it’s tragic.” However, for just one day, Loveland, Colorado was blessed with the help of eight hundred volunteers, including 113 dentists, who donated both their time and skill.

My Thoughts

It’s certainly a shame that so many Americans(not to mention in other countries) are unable to afford something so basic as dental care. Unfortunately, while I believe that organizers of these clinics are to be commended for their efforts, I believe this approach is more of a band-aid than a solid, long-term solution. Policymakers will have to reform the Health Care Industry so that healthcare is affordable and accessible to everyone. I honestly don’t know what shape such a bill would take, but it’s the only way to ensure that everyone receives the care they need at a price they can afford.


How would you reform the Health Care System to make dental care affordable and accessible?

Reader Comments

  1. Maria November 21st

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    God bless you Mr Bergstrom.

    I am 50 years old and have worked most of my young and adult life, trying to mostly meet the needs of my children I was unable to ever get the proper care for my teeth. I now have many that have decayed and I haven’t smiled tooth wide since my 20’s as far as showing my teeth go I always cover with my lips. God bless you for what you are doing for so many like me whom can never afford having a beautiful smile.

    North Carolina

  2. drdental November 21st

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    Maria, I’m sure Mr. Bergstrom welcomes your thanks. There are thousands of fantastic dentists out there doing pro bono dental work at these free clinics. Not only are these dentists sacrificing their time, but considerable expense is involved as well. Many dentists close their clinics for a few days and pay for their staff to assist them. It’s dentists like these that are the true Dental Heroes.

  3. Maria December 20th

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    All the dentists that participate truly are heroes. Lots of people out there I am sure feel the same as I do its not just the costmetic side that they are helping people with but also the medical side. Many folk whom can’t afford a dentist suffer with tooth pain and discomfort sometimes for years and years.
    The truly are heroes. GOD BLESS THEM ALL !!

    North Carolina

  4. James Everett July 25th

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    I’m a father of 4, no dental insurance I live in the San Diego area, I’m in desperate need of dental work, my smile is my livelyhood, I tried to look for dentists who may be able to do Pro-bono work, but haven’t had any sucess, I’m a hard working person, a veteran but without dental benefits, everytime I look for a dentist it costs money in which I don’t have, due to society and my family finances, I’m in dire need of a dentist who can help me please I beg of you, anyone?? it would be of great help.God Bless You in advance,,

  5. David Weisenbarger September 6th

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    I’m a single father of four with no dental insurance. I’m in need of dental work. I’m a salesman in the pool industry and work is slow to say the least. I’m in the Seattle, Wa. area and would like to find a dentist that is willing to do pro bono work for me. Please let me know what is available. Thank you in advance.

  6. James Everett September 7th

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    I’m sorry if this sounds pathetic, but this is really something that’s ashame in America, I don’t know who paid some of these people to say good things about dentists but really?? The prices for fixing a tooth are pitiful. That’s why people are going to Tijuana to save money, the service may be different but at least we don’t have to go bankrupt over getting a tooth fixed. America shame on you and the Dental Association for charging people who have not (already) to get not… I still have yet to meet a dentist who can help anyone without them having either good credit or money up front.. Where’s the love??

  7. James Everett September 7th

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    One more thing, unless you drive an expensive car, or work full time and have dental coverage can you afford it, but working part-time two children and barely making a living can you actually have your smile fixed in San Diego County. Let alone go anywhere to have someone help you(dentist) I see all this pro-bono, no dentist wants to do that.. They need money in their pocket too, for supplies etc, if I were a dentist I would help every person I could to smile even if it might cost me a little…. I’m so fed up with this “Sorry there’s nothing we can do” if you can’t afford it we can help….

  8. Jtaylorjazznote November 17th

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    Hi Joe here, I’m looking for free dental/ very low cost – or pro- bone bridge work done in the SF north bay area….any leads?

  9. Janet Johnson January 11th

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    My name is Janet Johnson   I need to find help a dentist who would be will to do pro bono  work on my teeth… they are so bad  and i’m in a lot of pain …. I was in a car wreck hit by a drunk driver ..I have had two back surgeries and can no longer work i give back to my community to help people who want to get and stay sober its hard for me lately cause i’m in pain I live in Hamburg New York close to Buffalo… i know i will need dentures please help me ….God bless

  10. Mike February 22nd

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    I’m a 34 year old man with a terrible dental situation. I work in a professional environment and am unable to open my mouth in fear someone will see my teeth. My front teeth are decaying and I only have one tooth on the entire upper left side of my mouth. I’m in awful pain most of the time and I’m genuinely worried I have or may get a seriously infection due to my horrible dental hygene. I don’t have money to see a dentist and I’d probably be too embarrassed to go if I did have money. If anyone knows someone who could possibly help me in the Saint Louis, MO area please let me know.

  11. Leenwess February 24th

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    Can anyone help me.  My brother is in need of implants.  He has had the free consultation say yes he should have this done, unfortunately, he has been out of work for 2 yrs now and has no dental insurance.  No one will hire him because of his bad teeth.  He so desparately needs this done so that he can provide for his family, and have his smile back again.  We only have $1,000 toward this.  What else can we do to make this happen.

  12. Sandrawergeland March 5th

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    I need free dental care. My children could use dental care as well. My husband and myself have both lost our jobs. I’m 43 and my teeth are rotting out of my mouth. I only have 1 tooth left on my upper right and I’m missing most on the upper middle. Most of my other teeth are cracking and breaking off. I can’t afford even dentures. I still consider myself a young woman and I don’t want to leave my house. I don’t even feel comfortable speaking with anyone because I’m missing most of my front teeth. I don’t want to have dentures but I want my health for my 4 children. Can anyone help myself and my family? We live in modesto, ca.

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