For families who have recently immigrated to the U.S., accessing dental care can be especially difficult. Language barriers, low oral health literacy, lack of dental insurance, and low incomes often cause parents to delay dental treatment until the need is urgent. This is true for Mary, a 15 year-old high school student in Minneapolis, Minnesota. By the time her parents brought her to Children's Dental Services (CDS) for care, she needed extensive restorative care, including fillings on four teeth. Unfortunately for Mary, the cost of such extensive treatment was more than her parents could afford to pay.
"In Mary’s case, delaying dental treatment for financial reasons could result in systemic or oral infections and has the potential for loss of the affected teeth or even adjacent teeth," Sarah Wovcha, executive director of CDS told us in her request for help. "Further delay could result in missed school hours for Mary and missed work hours for her family as they plan for several separate appointments during the weekday."
Thanks to the thoughtfulness of a generous donor who gave to Tomorrow's Smiles, a special In the Gap initiative for teens, Mary's parents won't have to worry about how they will pay for her treatment or that her infection could spread and become dangerous. Through this special initiative, America's ToothFairy provided funding to help pay for Mary's treatment and restore her smile to good health. Even better, now Mary's family has access to a dental home where they can receive routine care and prevent future dental disease.
In a letter of thanks, Sarah shared, "As a direct result of your generosity, our patient will be able to receive vital restorative dental care they otherwise would not have been able to afford. Mary is very happy and grateful to be out of pain and have a healthy smile again!"
To learn more about the Tomorrow's Smiles initiative and a free gift for donating, please visit TomorrowsSmiles.org.
*Patient's name has been changed to protect her privacy. Not all grantees have provided photos. In some cases, stock photos are used to represent a patient’s gender, age and ethnicity if known.