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Dental material suppliers, others offer aid to Oklahoma tornado victims

The Association, the ADA Foundation and other members of the dental community offered kind words of support and a variety of disaster relief resources to dentists and others who suffered damage or grave losses due to a horrific May 19 tornado that slammed Moore, Okla.

"The people of Oklahoma have faced tragedies in the past; and while their sorrow is overwhelming, they are once again demonstrating remarkable courage and resilience," said ADA President Robert Faiella in an Issues Alert distributed to ADA members and others in the dental community.

The alert encouraged dentists affected by the disaster to consider a number of potential sources of aid within the dental community, including the ADA Foundation and the Oklahoma Dental Association. 

The ADA Foundation Emergency Disaster Grant Program is designed to quickly provide up to $2,000 in aid to dentists with immediate emergency need for food, water, clothing, shelter and counseling in the wake of a declared disaster. Eligible dentists may apply by submitting a simple application form directly to the Foundation.

To support the Foundation, call 1-312-440-2547 or visit adafoundation.org and select the How to Help page where donations can be made using the PayPal button labeled Donate Now.

ODA is offering assistance through its OK Dental Relief & Disaster Grant Program and encouraged affected dentists to apply online for assistance.

Members of the dental supply industry also stepped up with financial contributions and other relief resources. Henry Schein donated $5,000 to the ADA Foundation for tornado relief and opened its Relief Hotline on May 21 for dentists, physicians and veterinarians experiencing operational, logistical or financial issues due to the tornado. 

"As in times of all disasters affecting our customers and their patients, Henry Schein Cares stands ready to provide whatever assistance we can to help Oklahoma City-area dentists, physicians and veterinarians re-engage their practices to serve those in need in the community," said Steve Kess, vice president, Global Professional Relations for Henry Schein.

The company also offers a disaster recovery guide to dentists whose practices have been destroyed or interrupted, donated medical supplies and suspended customer accounts payable by 90 days for those affected by the tornado. Dentists may contact Henry Schein's Relief Hotline at 1-800-999-9729 from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Eastern time.

Benco Dental also had plans to make financial contributions and to work directly with affected dentistry professionals. "The Benco team in the Oklahoma area is making every effort to help dentists and dental labs who have been hit," stated Benco Dental representative Julia Amendola. "We will continue to focus on instant and exceptional service to our customers."

At press time, Benco Dental and its employees were raising funds to contribute. "The collection will be ongoing for the next two weeks, so I do not have a total donation amount yet," said Ms. Amendola. "As with all fundraisers, Benco Dental generously matches what the employees raise."

Patterson Dental's relief plan includes a number of options for relaxing payment schedules for affected customers. The company also donated more than 7,200 toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, trash bags, surface disinfectant and other supplies.

"Distribution of these goods has been turned over to our great partners at the Oklahoma Dental Foundation with whom Patterson has a long-standing relationship," said Terry Gilchrest, Patterson Dental Oklahoma City branch manager. "The ODF is delivering our donated items to the impacted areas—Moore, Newcastle, Bethel Acres, Shawnee, etc."

Outside of dentistry, the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Small Business Administration offered disaster relief measures that may benefit affected dentists.

On May 21, the IRS announced that affected tax payers in Cleveland, Lincoln, McClain, Oklahoma, Pottawatomie and potentially other affected counties will receive special tax relief, including the postponement of various tax filing and payment deadlines, extending several to Sept. 30. Affected tax payers can find more information at disasterassistance.gov.

The SBA, as a result of the president's declaration of a major disaster for Oklahoma, is accepting applications for disaster loans from applicants in Cleveland, Lincoln, McClain, Oklahoma and Pottawatomie counties. For more information, contact the SBA's Customer Service Center toll free at 1-800-659-2955, visit the secure website or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.