Life-changing Dental Care for Those in Need

SPONSORED BY Dental Lifeline

Explore volunteer opportunities through Dental Lifeline Network and make a difference for vulnerable individuals in your community

Volunteers, Dr. Ashleigh Harrison (PDS-supported owner dentist) and team member Jennifer Hess of City Park Dental Group and Orthodontics sit with a very grateful patient, Juanita, and her brand new smile.

When Juanita walked into the office of Dr. Ashleigh Harrison of Pacific Dental Services (PDS) in Denver, it had been a long time since she smiled. The 54-year-old had been suffering from failing teeth her entire life – living with pain and having difficulty chewing food. Her gums would often swell and bleed, making eating a very difficult task.

In addition, Juanita was suffering from other illnesses, including asthma, lupus, diabetes, fibromyalgia, and neuropathy. When her symptoms increased, she had to stop working and participating in activities she enjoyed, including volunteering with senior citizens in her community. Managing the symptoms and costs of all of her ailments were taking its toll on her health, her psyche, and her pocket book. She couldn’t afford to address her dental needs.

Over the years, Juanita stopped smiling. Her deteriorating teeth were impacting her health and her quality of life.

“I was unable to go out in public,” Juanita said. “My social life was a disaster. I was ashamed to open my mouth because of my broken, decaying teeth. It was not a very nice sight to see.”

Help came in the form of a generous volunteer and a national nonprofit dedicated to serving people with special needs. Juanita was connected with PDS’ Dr. Ashleigh Harrison through Donated Dental Services (DDS), a program of Dental Lifeline Network (DLN).

Dr. Harrison met with Juanita and discussed the need to remove the remainder of her teeth and get her a full set of dentures. Thanks to DLN and Dr. Harrison, they were able to restore Juanita’s mouth – and ultimately, her pride.

“Once Juanita had her teeth back, she could not only chew, but was able to start interviewing for jobs,” said Dr. Harrison. “That is what dentistry is all about – getting people out of pain, but also restoring their confidence.”

To this day, Juanita is extremely grateful for the dentists and surgeons involved in her care.

“I can’t thank them enough!” she said. “Before, I would not smile or talk – now I can’t keep my mouth closed! Since getting my new teeth, I have lost 43 pounds, I am off at least one third of my medications. I am more active and more social.”

Thousands more – like Juanita – are on wait lists for the DDS program. You have the power to help change lives for good.

Easy to volunteer
Consider joining other DDS program volunteers across the country to help vulnerable people with no access to dental care. Providers can choose to treat one patient a year or more. Dr. Harrison was surprised at how easy changing a life could be.

“The process was so convenient,” she said. “I signed up online and was contacted within a few weeks. It’s similar to the mission work I’ve done, but I was helping people right here in my community. I think it’s incredible that Dental Lifeline Network exists.”

DLN makes it easy for you to volunteer:

  • Patients are prescreened
  • You review the patient profile in advance and choose to see or decline any patient
  • See patients in the office on your schedule
  • You determine a treatment plan
  • Never pay any lab costs
  • No extra paperwork for you or your staff

In 2015-2016, 7,100 individuals who are elderly, have disabilities, or are considered medically fragile have received services thanks to volunteer dentists and laboratories.

Dental Lifeline Network (DLN) is a charitable affiliate of the American Dental Association. DLN serves patients in all 50 U.S. states through more than 15,000 volunteer dentists and 3,700 laboratories.

To volunteer, please contact Dental Lifeline Network at 303.534.5360 or visit www.DentalLifeline.org.


5 reasons to volunteer for DLN

  1. Give back locally
    DDS Program Coordinators screen applicants prior to making a referral, ensuring that patients are local and the most in need.
  2. Create a great staff experience
    All dental office staff members can be involved in the DDS experience; it’s a great way to build team connections and boost employee morale.
  3. Help someone in need smile again
    DDS patients are truly in need and very grateful. All patients either have a disability, are elderly, or are medically fragile and lack access to desperately needed dental care.
  4. Change a life for good
    Dentists can establish a complete treatment plan in order to restore someone’s oral health from start to finish. This work will bring someone dignity and health.
  5. DDS makes it easy to give back
    Dentists can choose to see or decline any patient, treat patients in their own offices, and develop the treatment plan. The DDS Program Coordinator also arranges specialists and lab fabrications, if necessary. It’s so easy and convenient to make a difference.

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