Thursday, March 7, 2013
Coastal Catholic Charities recently received a $25,000 grant from the Wal-Mart State Giving Foundation for its Save-A-Smile dental program. Save-A-Smile provides comprehensive dental health services to low-income, uninsured or underinsured residents of the Tri-County area. These services comprise of education, prevention, treatment, and replacement for individuals who have suffered due to a lack of dental insurance and inadequate access to dental care. As the only resource for low-cost comprehensive dental services in the Tri-County area, Coastal Catholic Charities provides subsidized dentures, dental cleanings, and general dental care for eligible clients. A large proportion of these clients are in desperate need of specialized dental services such as fillings and extractions. Coastal Catholic Charities is fortunate to have seven dental partners in the North Charleston area. This team of dentists offers exams, x-rays, root canals, and extractions, as well as full, single, and partial dentures. Free oral hygiene classes, provided by a volunteer dental hygienist, are mandatory for Save-A-Smile participants.
According to a 2011 PBS Newshour report, only 50% of Americans see a dentist each year due to high dental insurance costs and/or inadequate access to dental providers. Further, there is a "distinct correlation between poor oral health and diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and (in women) low-birth weight babies." Findings from a 2010 report by Roper St. Francis Hospital show that 148,511 (23%) of Tri-County residents lack health/dental insurance. The majority of clients sees at Coastal Catholic Charities are either uninsured or have inadequate coverage. Many suffer from chronic, debilitating conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and depression. Once they receive a diagnosis, many of our clients still struggle to receive the dental treatments they so desperately need.
Catholic Charities and the Save-A-Smile program are essential resources for our clients, as they provide both the access to quality dental care that clients are in need of while also giving them hope for a holistically healthy future. Thanks to the Wal-Mart State Giving Foundation, Catholic Charities is able to continue offering these services and providing life changing treatments to clients in the Tri-County area.