Members of the Kalamazoo Valley District Dental Society are committed to providing quality dental care to the community. Besides the excellent work they provide through their private practices, many local dentists carry that commitment outside their practices by volunteering their skills within their community and to far-off places to help those in need who can’t otherwise access dental care in traditional fee-for-service settings.
Among those programs in the Kalamazoo area are:
Michigan Donated Dental Services, a cooperative venture between the Michigan Dental Association and National Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped, which launched in the fall of 1995 with a cadre of volunteer dentists that has grown to over 800 as of 2007; 400 who practice in the southeastern section of the state and the remainder in the rest of Michigan. In addition, 190 dental laboratories donate some of the prostheses, crowns and bridges needed by so many of the people treated. Currently 45 KVDDS Member Dentists participate in Donated Dental Services. In 2007 over $1,000,000 of dental care was donated to just under 400 patients. The populations for whom dental services are provided comprises:
- Persons who are physically and/or mentally impaired
- Persons with sensory impairments
- Persons who are medically compromised
- Elderly persons
Michigan Donated Dental Services can be contacted at 866.263.4067 or visit their website at http://nfdh.org/joomla_nfdh/content/view/68/105/
Give-Kids-A-Smile Program is an annual event promoted by the ADA and MDA to encourage member dentists to deliver care to needy children in recognition and promotion of February being Children’s Dental Health Month. Over 350 Michigan dentists, many from the KVDDS, participated in 2007 delivering an estimated $800,000 in donated dental care to Michigan’s needy children.
Member Dentist Initiatives
In addition to the above-mentioned formal dental care programs, many KVDDS-member dentists participate in indigent care programs through numerous local church or charitable organizations which refer patients to their offices for treatment at reduced or no fee. For example, in the Plainwell area, Christian Neighbors is a multi-denominational organization that provides support to the needy and arranges for dental care through private offices for reduced or no fee by partnering with Plainwell area dentists. Many other charitable organizations like Christian Neighbors exist throughout the counties encompassed by the KVDDS and member dentists offer their services to the needy through them.
Additionally, member dentists also volunteer their services for missionary trips to Third World countries such as Honduras, Guatemala, and Christmas Island, where they treat indigenous populations that have no access to dental care of any kind, often requiring the volunteers to transport their own equipment and supplies to treat the patients in rustic, temporary and often bare-bones settings.