It has been a truly rewarding pleasure to serve your loved ones and the seniors of this community. I began this program because as a hygienist I saw how difficult it was for many frail elderly to come to the dentist, and for those who did, I was shocked at the state of poor oral health they were in. I realized it would be much easier for me to bring my skills and profession to them and provide the regular care they received for most of their lives.
Founding SMD as a Nonprofit Organization, I believed would help offset the high costs of dental care and allow us to provide free or low fee dental hygiene services. Unfortunately, I did not foresee the level of under representation seniors have in federal funding support. Either they are not viewed as a good “long term investment” of federal funds or we are in competition with children for school based Oral Health programs.
Through our dedication, we have been able to provide the care so many need, but only with discounted fees and not free as many who are on fixed incomes require. My purpose for writing this letter, is to bring attention to the under representation this vulnerable population faces. My hope is to bring about the needed change, but also to show our need for community support. We have found most seniors in advanced disease have rampant decay. I believe and fear with the difficulty of getting them to a dental office for x-rays, many will remain in pain or have abscesses that we are unable to detect visually.
Case Point: A gentleman was admitted to one facility we serve, with every tooth decayed or broken. His demeanor was generally uncooperative and somewhat combative. It took us almost 6 months to go through the process for approval to have his teeth extracted but immediately after, literally that afternoon, he was a different person. He felt good enough to start performing daily functions on his own and start moving around and participating more. His uncooperativeness was misunderstood as advanced dementia, but was more of a result of his diseased and painful mouth.
Our need for in-house x-rays to supplement our care comes at a cost of $25,000 for the equipment. We are running a matching grant campaign where we have found a foundation willing to support us as much as the community supports us. They will match every dollar you donate until we raise the $25,000. All donations are tax deductible. Please help us provide the capability to diagnose and facilitate treatment for undetected abscesses in-house so we may more efficiently give the needed care without unnecessary multiple trips to the dentist. We need to protect the physical and emotional well being of those we love and of a population who has raised this great nation.
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