Many Americans find themselves needing dental care daily. They go to a dentist to have the work done, and the dental office bills their insurance company. However, there are thousands who do not have dental insurance and have to pay out of pocket for all dental work, which can prove difficult for some, meaning important oral work goes untreated. And what about those who don’t even have a home to live in? How does the nation’s homeless population receive professional dental cleanings or treatment for a tooth infection?
Over 3,000 People Suffer From Homelessness Each Year in Madison Alone
Being homeless can last a couple days for some people, but others can struggle with it their entire lives. It can affect the young or old at any given time in life and can be caused by anything from depression to serious medical conditions, from job loss and unpaid bills to an unexpected eviction or sudden natural disaster. It is an ongoing problem, one that many organizations and volunteers work tirelessly to eliminate. This knowledge drove the staff at Madison Family Dental to volunteer some of their time to the Madison Dental Initiative (MDI) to help those who are homeless by offering them free preventative and restorative dental care.
What is MDI?
One of the more recognizable charitable organizations, the Salvation Army was created to assist those in dire situations. They give food, clothing, and support to people in need, be it from a drug addiction, natural disasters, or homelessness. In 2009 The Salvation Army decided to create the Madison Dental Initiative to further help those without a home. Proud to provide top rate dental work, the staff at MDI works hard to ensure that the homeless population gets the care they deserve.
How Is Madison Family Dental Contributing?
MDI relies on donations and volunteers to continue to function. Those who give their time find joy in helping treat a homeless child’s tooth infection or a homeless veteran’s advanced periodontal disease. Madison Family Dental has been honored to contribute to MDI to help them provide patient care. Dr. Lindsey Heim, Dr. Lori Veerman, and dental assistants Valerie and Rita have all spent time working with homeless patients and plan to continue to do so in the future.
Just recently Dr. Lori Veerman volunteered at MDI for the fourth time. She had the pleasure of being able to treat six patients, ensuring each received top-notch care to improve their oral health. Dr. Veerman, describing MDI as a very well equipped facility, looks forward to volunteering again in the near future.
Can I Contribute Too?
Definitely! Volunteers are what keeps MDI running, and they are always looking for all types.
Dentists and their assistants are greatly needed to care for MDI’s patients. Dentures, root canals, extractions, and fillings are some of the treatment they will need to provide. The clinic schedules appointments based on what services the volunteer dentists are comfortable completing, so the more, the better! Their assistants will help by recording notes, treatment planning future work for patients, as well as assisting with x-rays and all procedures.
Dental hygienists also play a very important part. Providing preventative care such as cleanings, as well as periodontal work, the hygienists are invaluable.
These important people help fill out health histories for patients, assist with consent forms and answer phones. This is a great opportunity for students and those interested in joining the dental field, though no experience is necessary. It is also a great chance for retired folk to help the homeless, as they are free during the day, which is the time volunteers are needed the most.
It costs over $600 a day on average to run the clinic properly. Any amount of money donated goes directly to MDI to improve their equipment and to run the facility.
Madison Family Dental is Proud to Support MDI
Over three million people have been reported homeless annually. Madison Family Dental happily continues to volunteer at MDI to give quality dental care to the homeless. We might not be able to help everyone all at once, but we sure can try, one mouth at a time.