NASHVILLE, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Delta Dental of Tennessee announced today that its philanthropic foundation, Smile180, has aided non-profit, free and reduced-cost dental clinics in serving more than 22,500 patients, 6,000 more patients than in 2014. In 2015, Smile180 provided $546,000 in grants to more than 20 clinics serving the uninsured and underinsured in Tennessee.
More than half of those dental clinics are now providing additional services compared to last year, thanks to the additional funding. Increased services include providing restorative care like fillings, adding endodontic services, and increasing oral surgeries. These increased services are due in part to the approximately $600,000 that Delta Dental of Tennessee invested in capital improvements in 2014.
“Because of Smile180 grants, dental clinics have been able to serve more people than ever before and spend more time with each patient,” said Timothy L. Hottel, DDS, MS, MBA, Dean, College of Dentistry, University of Tennessee. “In September, four dental students from the University of Tennessee’s School of Dentistry began working full-time at the Healing Hands Health Center in Bristol, Tennessee. Smile180 provided necessary renovations and upgrades to the students’ home away from home as well as providing fleet vehicles to help the students get to and from the East Tennessee clinic and school. Additionally, Delta Dental of Tennessee fully equipped the new dental clinic at Healing Hands with the same state-of-the-art equipment found at the University of Tennessee’s Health Science Center.”
“Taking care of Tennesseans, especially those most in need, is part of our mission,” said Phil Wenk, D.D.S., president and CEO, Delta Dental of Tennessee. “We understand and appreciate the importance of giving back to the areas we serve. We plan to continue to provide operational funding for all of the clinics across Tennessee to help them best meet the needs of their communities.”
To showcase the impact of Smile180 efforts, a testimonial video was produced to help communities understand the ever-growing need for dental services. The video project, featured on the Delta Dental of Tennessee YouTube Channel, features several clinic patients from across the state. “The most effective way to tell a story is to hear it from someone first hand. Their stories are powerful, address the needs, and represent the transformative power of a smile,” said Wenk. Healing Hands Health Clinic Executive Director Helen Scott agrees, “The number one need by far is dental care. We are trying to break the cycle of dental disease each day.”
Pep Peppers, a featured patient from the Church Health Center in Memphis, shares his emotional story in the video. “It changed my life. This opportunity is great. My ‘thank yous’ are forever.”
“One of the core values of Delta Dental of Tennessee is to support efforts that enhance the health and wellbeing of those in our community by improving oral health in our state,” said Wenk.
In 2014, Delta Dental of Tennessee launched its Smile180 philanthropic effort. Smile180 reflects the transformative power of a healthy smile to turn someone's life around. Today, the Smile180 Foundation supports Tennessee's dental colleges, children's hospitals, free and reduced-cost dental clinics, and other like-minded charities.
Since 2003, Delta Dental of Tennessee has provided more than $19.3 million in community giving. This year, more than $1.3 million in gifts have been provided through the Smile180 Foundation, and an additional $353,000 has been contributed to other community empowering organizations.
Smile180 reflects the transformative power of a healthy smile to completely turn someone’s life around. We believe a smile is attractive, promotes confidence and is essential to a healthy, productive life. One of the core values of Delta Dental of Tennessee is to support efforts that enhance the health and wellbeing of those in our community by improving oral health in our state. The Smile180 philanthropic initiative supports Tennessee’s dental colleges, children’s hospitals, free and reduced cost community dental clinics, and other like-minded charities. Transforming lives. Transforming communities. One smile at a time. Visit us at http://www.deltadentaltn.com/Smile180.
Delta Dental of Tennessee combines the largest national network of dentists with a focus on the unique dental insurance needs of every individual we serve. Good oral health is essential to a healthy life and Delta Dental of Tennessee makes taking care of your smile easy with access to care, comprehensive benefits, exceptional service, and superior value. In 2015, Delta Dental of Tennessee celebrated 50 years of service. The company was first formed as Tennessee Dental Services Corporation in 1965 as the result of enabling legislation passed by the Tennessee General Assembly. Since then, Delta Dental of Tennessee has grown to become the largest independent dental insurance provider in the state, with more than 2,000 employer groups representing more than 1.2 million Tennesseans. For dental made simple, choose Delta Dental. Visit http://www.DeltaDentalTN.com for more information.