Bulletin of Dental Education

Nonprofits Seek Dental Volunteers

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In this economy, receiving high-quality and affordable health care is of concern to all. Many people have lost their jobs and their health insurance coverage. CommunityHealth, a volunteer-based, non-profit organization in Chicago, is a clinic actively seeking dental volunteers, including hygienists and assistants, to provide services. "The dental waiting list is six to eight months long, and it is continuing to grow. We have not cut off intake. All dentists are volunteers, and we need more," Volunteer Services Coordinator Kelly Tondini said. The appointment-no-show rate is nearly 0%. The patients, Ms. Tondini continued, are "learning how important oral health is to overall health."

CommunityHealth opened the oral health clinic in December 2009 to offer oral health services for adults. One hundred and fifty-eight patients have used the dental clinic for deep cleaning, tooth extractions, fillings, and x-rays. In the future, services will expand to include treatment for root canals. Donations from CRASH USA and the Louis R. Lurie Foundation helped to establish two dental units, a lab, and an x-ray room.

"Given the economic environment and growing need for health care, CommunityHealth is growing," said Ms. Tondini. The patient population now exceeds 8,000. To learn more about volunteering, visit the CommunityHealth website or contact Kelly Tondini at 773-395-9901 or ktondini@communityhealth.org.

If you are not in the Chicago area and would like to find a free clinic to volunteer your time and expertise, visit www.freeclinics.us/freeclinic.php.

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