Funding Gets Drilled for Low Cost Dental Services

Feeling the pain of budget cuts

By Diana Gonzalez
|  Thursday, Jul 29, 2010  |  Updated 5:46 PM EDT
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Funding Gets Drilled for Low Cost Dental Services

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White enough for ya?

Community Smiles in Miami-Dade provides mostly free or low cost oral care to patients who can’t afford going to the dentist.

However, there is a yearlong waiting list for patients looking to receive such care. While grants from the Health Foundation of South Florida and Blue Cross help fund this particular program, county dollars have drastically been cut.

“Up until 2008, we received about $250,000 from the Public Health Trust to provide services for low-income, Jackson referred patients. Now that’s being cut this year to zero,” said Chip Patterson, Executive Director of Community Smiles.

At the same time, Jackson is closing four dental clinics and those patients are being referred to Community Smiles. The space provided by Miami-Dade County Public Schools is free; so is the labor. To make this possible, community dentists come here to donate their time.

“Volunteers are the engines that really drive our clinic. We need more volunteers,” said Dr. Thomas Ward the director of dental programs. To find out more go to www.community-smiles.com.

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