Delta Dental Donates $44 Million to Improve Nation’s Oral Health

IMHO- I am all for giving back to those less fortunate but it seems quite odd to me that Delta Dental has the money to donate but keeps cutting back on the remuneration for the providers of dental care. I guess Delta Dental is playing Robin Hood. MJ

Donations aid uninsured children, help alleviate dentist shortage

Oak Brook, Ill. (November 19, 2014)Although dental disease is largely preventable, it is the most common chronic childhood disease[i] and, alarmingly, can affect children's learning, speech and ability to eat. Luckily, organizations like Delta Dental are joining the fight to increase access to dental care, especially among the uninsured.

In South Dakota, for example, the Dakota Smiles mobile dental program is working to help children who deal with the pain of untreated dental disease every day, potentially impacting their school work, their sleep and their quality of life. Partnering with local community organizations across the state, Delta Dental of South Dakota’s mobile dental units treated more than 3,200 school children in 2013 and have served more than 25,000 children since the program began in 2004.

Programs like this are filling a significant gap throughout the country by providing oral health care to the uninsured, and Delta Dental member companies are making sure they have the resources to meet needs. Delta Dental’s 39 member companies donated more than $44 million in 2013 to support community benefit initiatives that advance and promote oral health. 

“At a time when the nation is focused on expanding access to health care coverage, Delta Dental companies are making it possible for more Americans to access oral health care,” said Steven R. Olson, president and CEO of Delta Dental Plans Association. “Our philanthropic efforts touch lives each year, whether through dental treatment opportunities, scholarships and grants to help grow our dental professionals or educational programs to help Americans improve their dental health at home.”

Delta Dental companies and their affiliated foundations work actively within their communities to create and support programs that focus on expanding access to dental care for the uninsured and underinsured, alleviating the nation’s growing dentist shortage, preventing dental disease and advancing dental science.

Expanding Access to Care and Prevention for All 
Although recent reports show a slight increase in dental insurance coverage in the United States, nearly 40 percent of Americans remain without dental benefits.[ii] In 2013, Delta Dental member companies donated more than $20 million in support of more than 250 programs and events providing dental care to children and adults and 108 programs and events focusing on prevention.

For example, Delta Dental member companies donated nearly $1 million to support statewide Mission of Mercy events, which are typically two-day dental clinics that provide dental care to uninsured adults and children free of charge. According to the America’s Dentists Care Foundation, since 2000, more than 135,000 people have received nearly $76 million worth of free care through Mission of Mercy events. Delta Dental supported these clinics in more than 15 states.

Alleviating the Nation’s Growing Dentist Shortage
An estimated 47 million Americans are living in identified Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas, and an estimated 7,300 additional dentists are needed to fill this gap in care.[iii] To address this problem, Delta Dental member companies contributed $7.4 million toward the dental workforce in 2013, including loan repayment programs and fellowships aimed at encouraging dentists to practice in shortage areas, as well as through direct donations to dental schools and dental student scholarships.

These are just a few examples of what Delta Dental’s member companies are doing to improve oral health in their communities. To learn more about what Delta Dental is doing in your community, go to

The not-for-profit Delta Dental Plans Association ( based in Oak Brook, Ill., is the leading national network of independent dental service corporations specializing in providing dental benefits programs to 62 million Americans in more than 114,000 employee groups throughout the country.

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