Dentists volunteer thousands of hours every year to contribute their time and skill to make a difference in the lives of people who otherwise could not access or afford oral health care – both in their local communities as well as abroad.
The ADA Give Kids A Smile® (GKAS) is a one-day event at thousands of locations across the U.S. that provides free dental care to children from low-income families who otherwise would not receive any preventive or restorative care, or any oral health education. The official GKAS event occurs the first Friday of every February. Many areas have expanded their GKAS program to "more than just a day."
Missions of Mercy, through America's Dentists Care Foundation, are events coordinated at the local level to provide basic dental care such as fillings, extractions and cleanings, with some offering limited lab work.
Donated Dental Services (DDS) program, coordinated by the Dental Lifeline Network, provides access to dental care and education for people who cannot afford it and have a permanent disability or who are age 65 or older or who are medically fragile.
Many dentists volunteer their time at local community health centers. Federally qualified health centers provide care to individuals regardless of their inability to pay. Find a community health center on the HRSA web site.
Dentists also make a commitment to participate in international volunteer projects. Dentists find opportunities through the Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO) and the ADA International Volunteer Website.