Dental Charity: Something to Smile About

We just received our plaque and 2019 decal for supporting a statewide free dentistry initiative called the Smile Foundation. Started in 2000, the foundation uses donated dental services from dentists and labs to provide free dentistry for those who otherwise would not have access.

From the Texas Donated Dental Services (TXDDS) website

TXDDS is a charity dental program operated since November 2000. Developed by the National Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped (NFDH), TXDDS uses volunteer dentists and labs to provide comprehensive dentistry to qualified individuals who cannot access care any other way. TXDDS cannot provide emergency care because we operate with an application-based, first-come first-serve process.

Being in the dental profession, I have witnessed firsthand the difference a smile can make in a person’s life. Interestingly, and something sometimes unrealized, is the difference it can make in their overall health and quality of life – not just their confidence and good looks. For retired people, and young alike, the inability to properly chew food can lead to poor dietary habits which can have further systemic problems for their overall health and life-expectancy.

I have also witnessed the extraordinary efforts of people like Dr. Cherilyn Sheets and the amazing contributions she has made towards providing dentistry to underprivileged youth. Cherilyn’s vision to create the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation and turn her childhood home into a free dental clinic has become a reality. Many children who otherwise would not be able to focus in school due to dental pain, or young children who may not even have a toothbrush, can lead a more comfortable and positive life thanks to her efforts. I have had the privilege to spend time with Cherilyn and her efforts are truly a credit to dentistry and humanity on a whole.

Wherever I go I hear of extraordinary things people in the dental profession do for others in need. If you have not had the opportunity to learn of some of these programs, I’d like to suggest now might be a great time. Simply surfing the web and donating a little time and energy could open up great opportunities to share your talents with others in great need.

Here are a few to get you started, please add others you may find to the comments section of this blog.

About CommuniCare

CommuniCare is a unique private-public partnership of non-governmental healthcare intervention that, since 1993, has helped thousands of working uninsured residents in South Carolina. Our mission is simple.


Because access to healthcare should be available to the working uninsured, CommuniCare is dedicated to:

  • Providing medical services in the form of donated prescription medications to the working uninsured throughout South Carolina.
  • Providing children of limited-income families within communities throughout South Carolina with effective oral healthcare services and education.

Public/Private Partnerships at Work

CommuniCare works because it provides a single source through which healthcare providers, healthcare facilities and pharmaceutical companies can donate their resources. CommuniCare has established unparalleled partnerships with medical providers, free clinics, hospital-affiliated clinics, pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies to create a network that makes healthcare accessible and affordable.

Eleven pharmaceutical companies have donated over 155 name-brand medications, valued at over $34 million, which was dispensed to over 13,000 working uninsured in 2007.

Who qualifies for CommuniCare?

To be eligible:

  • You must be a South Carolina resident under the age of 65.
  • You must meet income criteria as established by CommuniCare.
  • You must not be covered by any form of health insurance, including Medicaid, Medicare, and Veteran’s health benefits.
  • Your family’s household income must be at or below 200% of the Federal Property Level to qualify.
  • You or someone in your household must show proof of income from one of the following sources:
    • Current employer.
    • Current unemployment compensation.
    • Current Social Security Retirement benefits and be under 65 years of age.
    • Current Social Security Disability benefits or Workers’ Compensation.
  • Patient eligibility is for up to one year. Patients may reapply each year for CommuniCare services.
  • CommuniCare requires a $20 application processing fee with each new or renewed application. This fee is an application fee and does not guarantee that a patient will be eligible for CommuniCare services. There is never a charge for the medication.

Mentioned in this article

National Children’s Oral Health Foundation

Other Dental Sites

Christina’s Smile

Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children

Oral Health America

The Children’s Dental Center of Greater Los Angeles

The National Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped