Virginia Dental Association Foundation - Providing Access to Dental Care for Underserved Virginians
We are passionate about dental care and oral health because they profoundly affect the well-being and quality of life of individuals and communities. However, for many people, financial realities leave them with little hope of securing care. That is why our Foundation exists – to help underserved Virginians get the dental services they need. As the charitable and outreach arm of the Virginia Dental Association, the Virginia Dental Association Foundation (VDAF) garners the resources of dental professionals and the community at large to offer programs that improve the oral health of more than 7,500 people annually. Over the past 18 years, Virginia dentists have improved the oral health of over 111,000 adults and children by providing more than $44 million in care through these VDAF programs.
Missions of Mercy (MOM)
Thousands of people experience pain, difficulty chewing, low self-esteem and other complications resulting from oral disease, simply because they lack resources to access dental care. To address this pressing problem, Dr. Terry Dickinson, executive director of the Virginia Dental Association, created the Missions of Mercy (MOM) program in 2000 to provide dental care for underserved Virginians. With the support of thousands of volunteer dentists and community members, MOM has provided help and hope for more than 52,000 residents and delivered dental services valued at over $32 million. This year marks the 15th anniversary of our Missions of Mercy program.
Donated Dental Services (DDS)
DDS tends to the dental care needs of some of Virginia's most vulnerable groups – low-income seniors and adults who are disabled. The program leverages the expertise and goodwill of the dental community by matching eligible patients with dentists, specialists and laboratories that donate their time to provide comprehensive care in their private offices. Services range from complicated restorations and extractions to full sets of dentures – all free of charge. Since coming to Virginia in 1997, the DDS program has helped more than 3,000 adults get the care they need. The total value of donated dental services exceeds $9 million – more than 10 times the cost of operating the program!
Give Kids a Smile!® is an initiative of the American Dental Association that offers oral health education to all children while providing free preventive and restorative care to those who need it. Many low-income children qualify for Medicaid, but currently, there is a shortage of dentists and Medicaid providers in certain parts of our state, particularly rural areas. Functioning as an umbrella for the numerous charitable education, prevention and treatment events held across the Commonwealth, the VDAF serves as a resource for event coordinators, aggregates results of outreach efforts, and communicates results to stakeholders at the state and national levels. More than 56,000 Virginia children have benefited from $3 million in education, screening and treatment services since the program was launched in 2003.