“This is truly a blessing — it’s just amazing.” That is how one patient described her experience at the CDA Foundation’s 16th CDA Cares volunteer dental clinic. The event took place Sept. 27-28 in San Bernardino for the first time.
Thousands of patients and volunteers flocked to the National Orange Show Events Center during the two-day event to receive and provide dental care at no cost. Dentists and dental professionals performed 10,412 procedures, including fillings, extractions and cleanings, providing $1.46 million in care to 1,626 people.
“CDA Cares is a rewarding experience for everyone involved, from patients who receive much-needed dental care to volunteers who consider it a privilege to serve,” said CDA President Del Brunner, DDS. “It’s not only the charitable dental services that are provided, but how each patient is treated with dignity and respect that makes each clinic special.”
In addition to restoring smiles and helping improve the quality of life of people in need, CDA Cares educates the public and policymakers about the importance of good oral health and the need for continued improvements to the state’s Medi-Cal Dental Program. More than 13 million Californians are enrolled in the program; however, many patients still face barriers to necessary care.
Laurie, a Medi-Cal recipient and patient at CDA Cares, had gone six months without lower teeth after losing her dentures. She made the trip from Pleasanton to receive a lower denture and upper extractions.
“I found out that Denti-Cal only covers dentures every five years,” she said. “Six months with no bottom teeth — I have not been able to process my food correctly and it’s beginning to affect my health.”
After receiving care, Laurie decided to pay it forward and joined more than 1,400 volunteers who played a vital role in making the clinic a success. Health professionals, including dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, dental students, nurses and lab technicians, donated their time and skills. Additionally, hundreds of community volunteers assisted with registration, language translation, data entry and guiding patients.
For Craig Yarborough, DDS, a lead volunteer dentist, each clinic is special. He has volunteered at every CDA Cares since the inaugural clinic in 2012. He spoke with TV station KTLA 5 about why he enjoys participating each year.
“People are going to sleep well tonight knowing that their needs have been taken care of,” Dr. Yarborough said. “Hopefully we can get them out of pain or put their smiles back together.”
CDA Cares is made possible by new and continued support from community members and key sponsors such as GES, Henry Schein, Planmeca USA, Western Dental, Delta Dental, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, San Bernardino County Department of Public Health, Tokuyama Dental, Stater Bros. Charities, Tri-County Dental Society, Larell One Step Denture, United Concordia Dental, The Dentists Insurance Company and The Dentists Supply Company.
The CDA Foundation is planning another CDA Cares event to be held July 17-18 at the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center.
For more information, visit the CDA Cares page on the Foundation website. You can also stay up to date on Foundation news by texting CARE4HEALTH to 51555.
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