A CDA Cares clinic is scheduled for May 18-19 at the San Jose Convention Center and a team effort is underway to recruit volunteers.
With its Bay Area location, the clinic, which allows dentists and dental professionals to provide cleanings, fillings and extractions to Californians who experience barriers to care, will have access to at least five dental components for volunteer recruitment.
“We have a high density of CDA members in the surrounding region. We’re very close to San Francisco, Berkeley, Santa Cruz, even San Joaquin County, so we’re calling on everyone to participate and make a difference,” said Ken Wallis, DDS, chair of CDA Cares San Jose.
Dentists, including oral surgeons, lab technicians, dental hygienists and other team members are encouraged to register. In addition, office staff members can provide invaluable services such as helping with registration and escorting patients to the proper dental stations.
“It would be great if members from all of the surrounding components participate and help get the word out,” said Geralyn Menold, DDS, who served as a member of the CDA Cares Sacramento Steering Committee and is a member of the Monterey Bay Dental Society.
Patients will not only receive treatment, but also oral health education and counseling regarding possibilities for future dental care. For example, after a patient’s treatment is complete, they will receive an exit interview that offers counseling, oral health education, government program options and information on community clinics that they can adopt as a dental home.
Debra Woo, DDS, also a member of the Monterey Dental Society, said everyone in the area is excited about the event and spreading the word.
“This is the first time for this area to host a CDA Cares clinic, and it’s going to be a great opportunity for our members to reach a lot of Bay Area people in need,” Woo said.
Last year, the CDA Foundation and CDA hosted two clinics that provided $2.8 million in dental care to 3,676 patients thanks to the generosity of volunteers. Wallis says he expects the San Jose clinic will have a similar impact. Dozens of legislators and local elected officials attended in 2012 and experienced the volunteer spirit of dentistry and need for dental care in their constituencies.
“We feel the components working together will generate tremendous interest among members who can volunteer on either Saturday or Sunday. We expect a number of people to volunteer both days and bring their dental teams with them,” Wallis said.
As far as what volunteers can expect, Menold says, “a rewarding experience.”
“You won’t regret it. You will come away inspired and ready to do it again,” Menold said. “Taking away pain and infection and adding to the patient’s self-esteem is worth all of your time and effort.”
Woo said to be prepared to help a lot of people in need.
“There are quite a few people impacted by the budget cuts to the oral health infrastructure in California, so this event is a life-changing experience,” Woo said. “Many of our students at the Dugoni School of Dentistry have participated in the previous CDA Cares and are looking forward to doing so again.”
The CDA Foundation has invited all of the California dental schools to participate in CDA Cares San Jose.
In addition to providing free dental services and oral health education to Californians who experience barriers to care, CDA Cares is intended to raise awareness with the public and policymakers about the need for a state dental director and infrastructure to support oral health and develop policies to improve the oral health of Californians.
For more information on CDA Cares and to learn more about how to get involved, visit cdafoundation.org/cdacares.