It’s widely known that many Americans without dental coverage suffer from seriously-neglected diseases. For those with disabilities or who are elderly or medically fragile, not seeing a dentist due to cost or lack of coverage has serious and often life-threatening implications. To help meet the needs of this vulnerable group, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America® (Guardian) today announced a $400,000 grant to Dental Lifeline Network (DLN).

The grant will help DLN ramp up its volunteer dentist recruitment efforts and staffing to treat individuals who suffer from serious dental issues in Connecticut, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Virginia in 2019. Take, for example Darrell, a Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam for four years and lives in the Chicago area. He had no dental coverage and developed serious heart issues. His doctor recommended that he obtain oral health treatment to prevent complications since Darrell had several missing teeth and many that were loose and decayed.

Through its flagship program Donated Dental Services (DDS), DLN helps individuals like Darrell by providing free, comprehensive dental care to people who desperately need comprehensive dental treatment and cannot get public aid.  Guardian’s grant is estimated to result in nearly $ 2.5 million in patient care (for each $1 given to DLN, $8.87 is provided in care).

“Guardian’s support of Dental Lifeline Network is a gamechanger for the organization and the people with special needs that we help, “ said Fred Leviton, CEO, Dental Lifeline Network. “In addition to funding services last year to help hundreds of people in Washington State, Guardian’s 2019 gift will support our volunteer dentists and labs in Connecticut, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Virginia that contribute life-changing and life-saving treatment for hundreds more of vulnerable individuals.”

“It’s great to have a partner like Dental Lifeline Network that shares our goal of providing access to quality dental care to the most vulnerable communities across the U.S.,” said Chris Swanker, CEO, Avēsis, a Guardian Company. “As one of the leading commercial and government dental insurance providers, we are committed to help uninsured individuals who are disabled, elderly or medically fragile receive the life-changing dental work they deserve.”

This donation comes on the heels of last year’s $125,000 Guardian grant in the state of Washington, which helped begin to relieve the 147 cases backlogged due to insufficient funding. Since receiving the grant, DLN increased its staffing and has provided comprehensive dental care to Washington’s most vulnerable residents.

“Will You See One?” Campaign – A Rallying Cry to Recruit Dentists

“Everyone deserves a Guardian” is at the heart of the company’s philanthropic efforts, which is why the grant will focus on leveraging DLN’s Will You See Onecampaign and help recruit volunteer dentists. Launched in 2017, the campaign targets dentists with the powerful message that volunteer dentists have the capacity to not only provide donated dental care but to change lives within their community—sometimes in a life-saving way. Last year, DLN took the campaign to the next level by focusing on Will You See One Vet, encouraging dentists to support and honor our veterans in need of comprehensive dental care. Through the DDS program, DLN provides comprehensive dental care through a national network of 15,000 volunteer dentists and 3,700 volunteer laboratories.

Dr. Arnold Pfannenstiel, a Donated Dental Services volunteer from Pennsylvania adds: “The DDS program helps patients with disabilities who can’t afford dental treatment. Volunteering as a dentist is very rewarding. Giving back to the community, helping people who otherwise would neglect their dental care, puts a smile on your face, as well as the patient’s face.”

To volunteer or support Dental Life Network, contact:

About Dental Lifeline Network

Dental Lifeline Network (DLN) is a national charitable organization and affiliate of the American Dental Association whose mission is to improve the oral health of people with disabilities or who are elderly or medically fragile and have no other way to get help. DLN accomplishes its mission by developing and coordinating collaborative relationships that provide essential resources for direct-service programs, especially charitable care.

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