OKEMOS, Mich. — The Delta Dental Foundation (DDF) believes everyone deserves a healthy smile—regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. That’s why the DDF created Smile Help Now, a web-based tool designed to help residents in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana find affordable dental care.
“It shouldn’t be a full-time job to find a dentist who provides no- or low-cost care, charges on a sliding-fee scale or accepts Medicaid,” said Holli Seabury, EdD, executive director of the DDF. “Now, it’s as simple as entering an address.”
According to the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute, 1 in 3 adults has no form of dental benefits coverage, and many more are underinsured. As a result, many individuals see the emergency department as their only option for dental care—or otherwise go without. Using the emergency department to address preventable dental conditions costs taxpayers, hospitals and the government around $2 billion every year. Worse, most emergency departments aren’t equipped to treat patients’ underlying dental problems, offering short-term fixes such as antibiotics and pain medication instead.
All because many are not aware that better, affordable options exist.
“This dynamic, searchable directory will make it easier for uninsured, underinsured and publicly insured people to establish a dental home,” said Dr. Jeff Johnston, senior vice president and chief science officer, Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. “A dental home can help you create good oral health habits for you and your family, resolve any dental issues you may have and give you a place to go in case of a dental emergency.”
Smile Help Now’s directory includes Federally Qualified Health Centers and Look-Alikes, volunteer or free clinics, dental and hygiene schools and other organizations committed to providing dental care to those in need. Listings will be routinely updated as necessary.
To learn more or to find an affordable dentist near you, visit www.SmileHelpNow.com.