Providing Access to Dental Care for Underserved Virginians

We are passionate about dental care and oral health because they profoundly affect individuals' and communities' well-being and quality of life. 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 thousands of people on average annually. For over 25 years, Virginia dentists have improved the oral health of over 157,000 adults and children by providing more than $72 million in care through these core VDAF programs.



Thousands of people experience pain, difficulty chewing, low self-esteem, and other complications resulting from oral disease simply because they lack the resources to access dental care. To address this pressing problem, Dr. Terry Dickinson, former 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 residents.



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 4,300 adults get the necessary care. The total value of donated dental services exceeds $15.5 million!



Give Kids A Smile! (GKAS) 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 75,859 Virginia children have benefited from $5.2 million in education, screening, and treatment services since the program was launched in 2003.