Volunteer programs offer dental assistants chance to help their communities

Dental assistants have many opportunities to serve their communities outside the office.Becoming a certified dental assistant can be about more than finding a great career, it also provides an opportunity to give back to your community through programs that offer free or reduced price services to veterans, low-income residents and children.

All across the country, partnerships between local governments, non-profit organizations and dental clinics are bringing preventative and corrective care to thousands of people who may not have otherwise had access to those services. Through those programs, dental assistants get the chance to use their skills to make their communities healthier places.

Veterans receive more affordable dental care

Uninsured military veterans in the Dallas area now have access to more affordable dental care thanks to the Share a Smile With a Vet program.1 It’s a pilot program that is offering veterans who have fallen through the cracks of the government’s insurance program a means of getting access to a range of basic dental services.

Comprehensive exams, dental cleanings, X-rays and fluoride treatments are just a few of the free services available to veterans who sign up for the program, and their immediate family members are charged just five dollars for each of those options when they take part. It’s a chance for local dental assistants to give back to the people who risked their lives protecting the country, as well as an excellent opportunity to provide dental assistant training to students.

Program gives away dental services for a day

Nine dental assistants were part of a 32-person team of dental professionals and students who donated their services at the Sixth Annual Love Thy Neighbor Dental Mission Day at the Drumright Dental Center in Drumright, Okla., on Aug. 24.2

As reported by local radio station 1600 Kush AM, the team donated 12 hours of their time on a Saturday to give away an estimated $320,000 worth of services and care to 90 local patients. But the the volunteers received the real reward.

“It was a long day, but to volunteer my time to help all those people out of pain and to have a nice smile again was definitely worth it,” Misty Lord, a dental assistant from Ponca City, Okla., told the source

Programs like Share a Smile With a Vet and Love Thy Neighbor take place on a regular basis all over the country. With opportunities like those so often available, getting a dental assistant degree is an excellent way to make an impact in the community, not just through professional pursuits but also as a volunteer.

1 PRWeb, “Affordable Dental Care Now Available to Veterans,” Aug. 12, 2013. http://www.sfgate.com/business/press-releases/article/Affordable-Dental-Care-Now-Available-to-Veterans-4727147.php
2 1600Kush.com, “6th Annual Love Thy Neighbor Dental Mission Day Held in Drumright,” Aug. 29, 2013. http://www.1600kush.com/story.php?id=6312&section=1