Air Force Veteran Can Eat More Comfortably Thanks to Donated Dental Services

Dental Lifeline Network • Florida

Eating is an essential everyday necessity and there comes a sense of appreciation for being able to eat comfortably. Unfortunately, for many people like Vincent, an 85-year-old Air Force veteran, difficulty in eating became a part of his daily life.

Vincent wanted to be an air police officer while in the military, but after taking a personal assessment it turned out he was better suited for accounting. Although he was hesitant, he decided to give it a try and enjoyed being an accountant for more than 60 years. He currently lives with his daughter and granddaughter in Kissimmee and has seven children and 23 grandchildren.

He suffered multiple health issues throughout his life, including heart attacks, strokes and a total stomach resection. Currently, he has a pacemaker/defibrillator and suffers from skin cancer, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis and vertigo. Unfortunately, he is unable to work due to his health and relies on his Social Security Disability benefit.

Dr. Stanley Asensio and staff with DDS patient Vincent.

Several holes in Vincent’s dentures made it exceedingly difficult and uncomfortable for him to eat. Although dental treatment seemed far beyond his reach, he was referred to Dental Lifeline Network’s Donated Dental Services (DDS) program and was matched with Dr. Stanley Asensio. He was then fitted
for dentures that were generously donated by Reggie Dental Lab in Orlando.

After the completion of his treatment, Vincent expressed appreciation for his team of volunteers: “Thank you very much for your help. It is so nice to be able to eat and smile again. They were so wonderful.”

“We have completed Vincent’s treatment, and all went very well. I think we all made a new friend. I had a wonderful time getting to know him and listening to his military experience and stories. Thank you for the opportunity to help him,” said Dr. Asensio, DDS volunteer.

By volunteering for the DDS program, you can help provide people and veterans like Vincent with the ability to eat again.

To volunteer or support Dental Lifeline Network:

Volunteer: Donate:

This article will be published in the July/Aug 2021 Today’s FDA. Visit to view Today’s FDA archives.

Funding Donated Dental Services will help Florida’s most vulnerable get life-saving care

By Dr. Cesar Sabates

“The mouth is the window into the health of the body” is a well-known phrase in the health care community.

As a dentist who has practiced for 30 years, I know that this statement is true.

I’ve treated patients who could not undergo transplants until the infections in their mouths were treated, and I’ve treated patients who couldn’t eat or sleep properly because of the pain of gum infection and decayed teeth, which can be associated with medical conditions such as diabetes.

Click here to read the full article in the Miami Herald published on Dec. 26, 2019.

Dr. Cesar Sabates is president of Florida Donated Dental Services, a past president of the Florida Dental Association, a Trustee of the American Dental Association and a practicing dentist in Coral Gables.

teeth.jpgFlorida Donated Dental Services program, which gives dental care to patients unable to pay, is seeking full funding from the state. Getty Images

Dentists Back Grant’s Loan-repayment Bill

By Alexandra Glorioso, POLITICO Florida

A trade group representing dentists is backing a bill from state Rep. Michael Grant (R-Port Charlotte) that would revive a defunct loan-repayment program for dentists who see low-income patients.

Florida has had difficulty providing dental care to Medicaid and other low-income patients, a problem that’s particularly acute in rural areas.

The Florida Dental Association believes the problem is rooted in geography. The measure filed today, FL HB465 (19R), would encourage recent dental graduates to work in less-populated areas, such as Immokalee outside Naples, in exchange for having loans repaid by the state.

“The reality is that there are Floridians with unmet dental needs and nowhere to go, and that is an urgent issue we are working to address,” Dr. Jolene Paramore, president of the dental association, told POLITICO in a statement.

Paramore said the program could get off the ground in six months since it’s been implemented in Florida before. The bill would repay loans for 10 dentists each year at a recurring cost of $500,000 a year.

“If the proposed dental student loan repayment program is implemented for five years, more than one million patients will be treated by participating dentists during that time,” Paramore said.

In addition, the bill would establish a volunteer program that would contract with the Dental Lifeline Network to provide dental care to low-income patients for free.

This article was published on POLITICO Pro on Jan. 23, 2019 and can be found here.

4 Simple Ways to Give a Little Time and Make a Big Impact

By Dr. David L. Russell, Florida Dental Association Foundation President

On a daily basis, approximately 10,000 Florida dentists have a positive influence on the state’s health care, policies, education and people. In fact, it’s estimated that each of Florida’s dentists may donate as much as $30,000 in free care and treatment each year. Unfortunately, the public often is unaware of our profession’s generosity and policymakers don’t recognize the sacrifices we make to fill in the gaps in care for our patients.

In the early 1980s, the Florida Dental Association (FDA) Board of Trustees created an organization to lead a larger and more organized philanthropic effort for all individuals in the Sunshine State. Thirty-five years later, the FDA Foundation is the preeminent charitable organization for oral health in Florida. The Foundation organizes and supports philanthropic programs statewide that promote our profession and offer alternative opportunities for organized dentistry to speak on key issues while the FDA addresses them through advocacy.

Since its establishment, the FDA Foundation has sponsored a number of innovative programs and given professionals in our industry countless opportunities to volunteer their time. These include, but are not limited to, the Florida Mission of Mercy, Project: Dentists Care and Give Kids A Smile®. Additionally, the Foundation offers disaster grants and administers a scholarship program.

If you are interested in donating your time and expertise to treat those less fortunate in Florida, I suggest you look to one of the four programs shown below. Each offers dental professionals an opportunity to give back and make a big impact.

1. Florida Mission of Mercy
The Florida Mission of Mercy (FLA-MOM) event is a massive two-day dental clinic with a goal of treating as many as 3,000 patients. Approximately 500 dentists and hygienists, as well as 1,000 community service volunteers, donate their time and expertise to provide almost $2 million dollars in donated care. Starting in 2016, the FLA-MOM event will be held annually in a different location throughout the state.

2. Project: Dentists Care
Project: Dentists Care
Inc. (PDC) consists of numerous organizations in Florida that offer a safety net of preventive and restorative dental care to those in greatest need. The Foundation provides grant funding to these orga­nizations that provide oral health care to the underserved. Last year, PDC affiliates reported more than $11 million in donated dental care.

3. Donated Dental Services
Donated Dental Services (DDS) is a program jointly funded between the Foundation and Dental Lifeline Network Florida. DDS provides access to comprehensive dental care for people with disabilities or who are elderly or medically fragile and cannot afford treatment. Since its founding in 1997, 1,500 Floridians in need have received nearly $6 million in donated treatment through 400 generous Florida DDS volunteer dentists and 200 volunteer dental laboratories.

4. Give Kids A Smile®
Launched by the ADA and supported locally by the Foundation, Give Kids A Smile® (GKAS) is a month-long program that provides free, easily accessible dental services to local qualifying children. This program seeks to raise awareness of the epidemic of untreated dental disease, and to create public and private partnerships to increase access to oral health care to solve this crisis.

These programs are funded by the FDA Foundation, which is largely funded by FDA-member dentists who make tax-deductible charitable contributions with their membership dues payments. We call these “sustaining membership” contributions and are critical to help us provide this important care.

I’d like to personally thank those of you who have contributed to the Foundation over the years through your sustaining membership dues. We understand you have choices about the organizations you support, and we appreciate the trust you’ve placed in us. We believe we are offering programs and services that address the causes you care about and reflect your values.

As you send in your membership dues, please be sure to include your $125 sustaining membership payment. Or, please take a moment to educate your office managers and accountants so that they include this payment when submitting on your behalf.

Thank you for your time and we hope you will continue to support the important work the Foundation is doing in Florida.