Dentists provide $1.8 million in donated care

Dentists and dental team members provided nearly $1.8 million in volunteer oral health care services to 2,066 people Oct. 15-16 at CDA Cares in Stockton.

In addition to providing dental services at no charge to Californians who experience barriers to care, CDA Cares, the CDA Foundation's volunteer dental program, educates the public and policymakers about the importance of good oral health and the need for an adequately funded dental safety net, which includes a well-functioning Denti-Cal program. 

“Our CDA Cares program provides a significant impact throughout the state. At this clinic alone we were able to provide care and relieve pain and infection for more than 2,060 people,” said CDA President Ken Wallis, DDS. “Despite recent efforts to improve the Denti-Cal program, it remains chronically underfunded and people have trouble accessing care. The number of people we see at these events speaks to that need.”

During the two-day event at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds, dentists and dental professionals provided 14,178 dental procedures, including fillings, extractions, cleanings and oral health education. Volunteer technicians in the clinic’s dental lab area worked to provide 250 complete and partial dentures and repairs. And while final numbers are still being tallied, preliminary estimates indicate that 2,365 tooth extractions were necessary — a sad statistic, since dental disease is preventable.

"Seeing someone come to CDA Cares with pain or infection and leave smiling and in better health is heart-warming," said Jean Creasey, DDS, chair of the CDA Foundation. "And to work with so many volunteers with the same goal of getting patients out of pain and in better health is incredibly rewarding."

More than 2,500 volunteers donated their time and services at the event, including 850 health professionals — dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, nurses and lab technicians — as well as community volunteers who assisted with registration, translation, data entry and escorting patients.

The CDA Foundation is planning another CDA Cares event April 22-23 in San Mateo.

For information about CDA Cares, visit cdafoundation.org.

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Hospital systems have been critical supporters of CDA Cares since 2013. Every year, due to the lack of effective and adequately funded government safety net programs, thousands of individuals seek treatment for dental pain and infection in hospital emergency rooms, compounding an already strained system.

Soon after the last classes let out at the University of California, San Francisco School of Dentistry on Friday, Oct. 14, 76 dental school students will board a bus for the 90-minute ride to Stockton, for the CDA Cares event.