When staff at Heartland Community Health Center met Polly* during a dental program at her school in the small town of Holton, Kansas, the first thing they noticed was visible decay on her front teeth. Upon further examination they determined that she would need a combination of restorative care, including fillings, endodontic treatment and a crown. Her dental team was worried that without swift treatment, the 16 year-old would lose her two front teeth.
"Studies show that missing teeth can be a deterrent for future employment," Heartland's chief dental officer, Dr. Molly Day told us. "Having access to dental care for this patient is not only saving her smile, but improves the quality of life and her future."
With Polly's family of five living with a household income at 45% the federal poverty level and no dental insurance, Dr. Day didn't know how they could provide the extensive treatment Polly needed. As a nonprofit, safety-net dental clinic, Heartland can provide care at a reduced rate, but the total cost of Polly's treatment would run more than $4,000–far more than Polly's family could afford and certainly more than the clinic could cover. That's why Dr. Day turned to America's ToothFairy. As a member of our Dental Resource Program, Heartland can apply for grants to help cover the cost of restorative care for patients in need. Thanks to the generosity of donors who gave to the Tomorrow's Smiles initiative, Polly is receiving the treatment she needs to restore her smile to good health so she can share her smile with the world!
Besides that, Polly's family is now connected with a dental home so they can receive the oral health instruction and preventive services they need to prevent tooth decay in the future.
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.