Syracuse is a dentally underserved area. The population in the zip codes of the city do not have enough dentists in practice there to meet the needs of the population. We are attempting to address urgent needs for the poor and uninsured or underinsured who have no other options. In addition, the Surgeon General's Reports on Healthy People 2010 and Healthy People 2020 identify dental caries and other dental problems as one of the top goals in each of the decades referenced. The need is acute in underserved areas. The Affordable Health Care Act lacks a dental component and even if some patients have Medicaid there are not enough providers who accept it. We are the only agency in Central New York that provides free dental care. Many dental providers realize that they have a responsibility to the less fortunate. They will go on missions to Honduras, Africa or Appalachia to meet this responsibility. They also realize that there are patients in Onondaga County who need care. For many reasons, providers are unwilling to bring these patients into their private practices. We have taken a "build it and they will come" approach. We have constructed a three treatment room facility that is well equipped and approximates what you have in your private practices. You can volunteer your time here in Syracuse instead of traveling many miles.
The project is divided into two phases. Phase I includes renovation of space adjacent to current clinic. This includes three treatment rooms, sterilization center, digital panorex x-ray, administrative area, waiting room, staff area, and storage area. It also includes the necessary dental equipment to make this area functional. This area is fully funded ($187,000) and construction is complete. Phase II is aimed at providing the technology necessary to support this practice. This includes practice management software, digital x-ray support, computers, keyboards, monitors, server and training. This phase is funded ($30,000). Funding sources for both phases include: Allyn Foundation, John Ben Snow Foundation, Reisman Foundation, Patterson Dental Foundation, and the Community Foundation of CNY. We have received cash and equipment donations from local dentists and other individuals. These donations total over $144,000 plus $70,000 in used equipment. BOTH PHASES ARE COMPLETE!!
Three dentists and two hygienists have been providing free dental care to the citizens of Central New York since August 2014. This care has been and will be provided at 259 East Onondaga Street in downtown Syracuse. The scope of this care includes examinations, cleanings, fillings and extractions. We have provided over $100,000 of free care. We have no personnel costs as everyone is a volunteer. In addition to the project costs, we have accumulated $10,000 in operating funds .
This project will enable us to support more volunteer dental professionals. We have three more volunteer dentists who will start in March! This in turn will enable us to enlarge our patient base. By the end of 2017, our appointments available should triple with a similar increase in the number of patients treated and care provided. With 300 dentists in Onondaga County, if 10% donated one afternoon per month, we would reach that goal.
The support of the members the Fifth District Dental Society and the Onondaga County Dental Society is critical in insuring the ongoing success of this project. Your professional support will help many of our neighbors in Onondaga County who have no other access to care. We have built our “field of dreams.” Please donate your time and talent to make this model succeed!