CDA Cares provides $1.25 million in care, marks 12th successful event

The Oct. 6-7 CDA Cares event in Bakersfield marked the CDA Foundation’s 12th successful volunteer dental clinic — providing more than $1.25 million in care to 1,506 people over two days at the Kern County Fairgrounds.

In addition to providing oral health care services at no charge to those in need, CDA Cares educates the public and policymakers about the importance of good oral health and the need for a well-functioning Denti-Cal program. Seventeen state and local policymakers and staff toured CDA Cares to learn more about the need in California and challenges with the underfunded Denti-Cal program. State Sens. Andy Vidak and Jean Fuller and Assemblymember Rudy Salas were also sponsors of the Bakersfield event.

CDA Cares events also shine a spotlight on the compassion of CDA members, volunteers and the good work dentists do in communities throughout California.

“With such a tremendous oral health need in our state, it’s incredible to see how dentists can come together volunteering their time and skills to provide care and education to more than 1,500 people in just two days,” said CDA President Clelan Ehrler, DDS. “We appreciate the support we received from the Kern County Dental Society and the community in order to host such a successful event in the Bakersfield area.”

During the two-day clinic, dentists and dental professionals provided 10,036 procedures, including fillings, extractions and cleanings as well as oral health education. Volunteer technicians in the clinic’s dental lab area worked to provide 125 complete and partial dentures and repairs.

“At the end of the day, it’s extremely gratifying to know so many lives have been changed and to see so many smiles walking out — not just from the people who received treatment, but from those who volunteered, too,” said local organizer Robert Reed, DDS. “These events are really very special.”

Echoing Reed’s sentiment was a patient named Eva, who attended the Bakersfield event with the hope of leaving with a new smile — and did just that.

“So beautiful … I thank you very much for everything,” Eva said to the volunteer dentist who handed her a mirror for a first look at herself with a full set of new dentures. “I am very, very happy,” she said, adding that with her new smile she can’t wait to “eat well and smile a lot.”

Eva was able to receive care thanks to the more than 1,100 volunteers who donated their time and services at the event, including 524 health professionals — dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, nurses and lab technicians — as well as 144 dental students and the hundreds of community volunteers who assisted with registration, translation, data entry and escorting patients.

CDA Cares Bakersfield received support from a number of major sponsors, including Henry Schein, Patterson Dental, Western Dental and the DentaQuest Foundation.

For information about CDA Cares, visit cdafoundation.org/cdacares.

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