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Action for Dental Health

Wisconsin Dentists Provide Charitable Care to Needy Adults

August 20, 2014

Dr. Michael Flynn is one of about 550 Wisconsin dentists who provide charitable dental care to disabled, senior, poor and uninsured adults through the state dental association’s Donated Dental Services (DDS). 

DDS serves patients who do not qualify for government assistance programs and cannot afford dental care, because a permanent disability, chronic illness or advanced age restricts their income-earning capability. They are chosen to receive charitable care based on their financial need and a phone interview with a referral coordinator, who pairs them with a participating dentist.  

Dr. Flynn, a dentist from West Allis, located just west of Milwaukee, has participated in the DDS program since 1999, providing care for patients who usually need extensive dental restorative work such as dentures, implants, root canals or crowns.  

“Many of these patients are missing many or all of their teeth, so they need a significant amount of dental work” said Dr. Flynn. 

Between July 2013 and June, dentists participating in the DDS program provided $769,000 in care to 200 people throughout the state, according to the Wisconsin Dental Association. Many DDS patients require extensive dental work – such as bridges, crowns or dentures – at an average cost of about $3,800 per person.

The state dental association started the program in 1998. To date, more than 800 dentists have provided about $9.2 million to 3,211 people. There are also more than 100 dental laboratories that work with the dentists by waiving all or some of their fees.

“A week or two after the treatment is complete, I’ll often get a card in the mail thanking me for my time,” said Dr. Flynn. “For me, that makes it worthwhile.”