Friday, July 20, 2012

Volunteer Dentists are Saving Smiles

Two years ago, we were starting a huge construction project at our campus in Independence. Part of the upgrade included a Medical/Dental room. We wanted our clients to have access to these basic services without having to leave the safety of our campus.

The dental portion of that room is now open, thanks to the assistance of Dr. Morrison and Dr. Ryder, our volunteer dentists.

What an educational process this has been! None of us on the Hope House side is a dentist, and that was evident as Dr. Morrison and Dr. Ryder discussed with us all of the needs of a dental room. I had no idea what was involved!

Dr. Ryder has been volunteering his services in the room and has seen 55 clients to date. It has been amazing the work that he has completed, and the transformations in client’s health that have taken place.

He’s performed cleanings, extractions, fillings, and taken x-rays. His services so far are valued at over $16,000; money our clients do not have. Without his volunteer efforts, they most likely would have continued to go without treatment.

In domestic violence situations, it’s very common for victims to push their own health needs to the back burner, and dental needs are even further behind. Untreated dental conditions can cause serious health concerns, so having this resource available to our clients has been invaluable.

Having the dental room on site allows the clients easier access to services and eliminates the need for childcare, which could be a real obstacle if clients had to access services off site. Unfortunately, there are times that going off site is necessary, due to emergency needs and the complexity of services.

We are grateful to Dr. Morrison who has been offering emergency dental services to our clients for over 20 years. He has opened his office doors to anyone in crisis with no other resources available to them. He has made a huge difference in so many lives.

If you are a dentist or hygienist and are interested in volunteering your time and talents to our clients, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Gretchen Schmitz, at or 816-257-9342. 

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