Momentum builds for CDA Cares San Mateo

When doors open at next month’s CDA Cares event in San Mateo, a woman whose life was changed at the previous event plans to accompany a friend in need of dental care. Geraldine says a call from her sister, who heard volunteer dentists would be providing no-cost dental care at the Stockton fairgrounds last October, prompted her to get in line a day early to possibly receive a stayplate to replace teeth knocked out during a fall four years ago.

Eager to spread the good news about dentists donating their time and skills, Geraldine called her friend to come along. But it was raining and her friend declined.

Refusing to let rain deter her, Geraldine waited in line for a few hours. Thanks to prescreening, she was able to return the next morning for impressions and a new stayplate, which isn’t covered by her Denti-Cal benefits.

“I was really happy — they were fast at their work and I really appreciate it,” said Geraldine, whose friend regretted not going when she saw her new smile. “I’m smiling at everybody, and my friends just kept staring at my mouth.”

Such positive stories are among the reasons why hundreds of dentists and dental team members look forward to participating in the CDA Foundation’s volunteer dental program, held twice a year at various locations throughout the state. The San Mateo event is scheduled for April 22-23, and the Foundation encourages dentists to volunteer. In addition to dentists and dental team members, the event needs health care professionals and community volunteers.

Events have statewide policy impact

Since 2012, CDA Cares has provided $16.4 million in care to more than 20,000 people thanks to the generosity of nearly 17,000 volunteers. CDA Cares provides fillings, extractions, cleanings, limited dentures, anterior root canals, oral health education and resources for dental care in the community. In addition to providing care to approximately 2,000 people at each event, CDA Cares educates the public and policymakers about the importance of oral health and the need for an adequately funded dental safety net, including a Denti-Cal program that works. 

Preparations for the San Mateo event have been in the works for nearly a year, with local organizers busy with behind-the-scenes details such as fundraising and garnering supplies and volunteer meals.

Carliza Marcos, DDS, chair of the local arrangements committee, says that in addition to renewed interest among the army of “regulars” who donate time at CDA Cares, there’s a buzz among new volunteers who plan to experience the event for the first time.

“It's exciting to hear about many newcomers — some neighboring components are forming volunteer ‘buddy’ groups, so they can volunteer in blocks together,” said Marcos. “And some dental and predental students have informed me that they are recruiting for volunteers at their schools.”

Marcos approached the Foundation about hosting a CDA Cares event in San Mateo because of the need, in part due to the high cost of living, particularly for people in jobs that support the tech industry. She’s confident that volunteers — both new and returning — will love their experience so much that they’ll be eager to do it again at the CDA Cares in Bakersfield next fall. 

“You will be exhausted by the end of your volunteer day, but you will feel fulfilled. It’s good karma to know you are using your skills to give back to your community,” Marcos said.

Geraldine says her friend plans to go to San Mateo, rain or shine, and hopes her friend’s experience is just as positive.

“My teeth look good,” said Geraldine. “I’m satisfied to the fullest.”

For more information on CDA Cares and to register to volunteer, visit cdafoundation.org/sanmateo.

Updated: 03/15/17

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The CDA Foundation offers financial support to dental professionals and community-based organizations across the state that provide dental care to underserved communities. The Foundation is currently accepting applications and nominations for: Dental Materials & Supplies Grant; Dr. Arthur A. Dugoni Faculty Award; and CDA Foundation Humanitarian Award.

“One of the things that I love about being a dentist is working in a profession filled with compassionate and caring people,” Carliza Marcos, DDS, says. “This spring, we will have a unique opportunity to express our commitment to helping those less fortunate in our community.” Marcos is chair of the San Mateo CDA Cares Local Arrangements Committee. CDA Cares will be held April 22-23 in San Mateo.

Save the date: The 9th Annual Ken Sanford, DDS, Memorial Motorcycle/Bicycle Ride to benefit two CDA Foundation programs will take place April 27-30 in San Clemente. The rides may be the highlight of the event, but those who don’t ride are encouraged to attend to access world-class C.E. opportunities, spend time with peers and enjoy activities in the area.