Learn about a local organization with a mission to provide good oral health to all, especially those in poverty in the Greater Cincinnati area.
Proper oral hygiene is key to good overall health. Unfortunately, it can be quite costly. Between regular dentist visits, cavity fillings, dentures, and many other procedures, a great amount of Cincinnati residents cannot afford to keep up with their oral hygiene.
This is where CincySmiles Foundation comes in. CincySmiles was founded in 1909 to provide dental care to low-income or impoverished residents of the Greater Cincinnati area. Today, they serve over 13,000 members of the community each year.
CincySmiles operates an array of oral health care programs such as the Dental Road Crew, the Discounted Dental Services Program, the Maternal/Early Childhood Oral Health Program, the Workforce Development Program, as well as their very own denture laboratory and dental center.
“For the majority of the patients we serve, we are their only option for oral health care,” declares CincySmiles President and CEO, Sonya Dreves. “They are uninsured, underinsured, homeless, veterans, the elderly, physically, mentally, and developmentally challenged. They are children, adults, and entire families who rely on us to provide them with preventative and restorative dental treatment services and dentures they need to live in good oral and overall health without the pain and embarrassment of decaying or missing teeth.”
In 2002, CincySmiles was awarded the Impact100 Grant, which allowed them to purchase equipment for their dental center when it was located previously in Over-The-Rhine. More recently, the foundation has been named as one of six finalists by Impact100 for their Denture Manufacturing Laboratory, which will make them the first non-profit oral health care program to manufacture affordable dentures for low-income patients. “The winners have not been announced yet, but this is an exciting time for us and we are hopeful for a positive outcome,” says Dreyes.
The foundation has also recently made a big move into their new facility on the West Side of Cincinnati. According to Dreyes, “the goal was to combine our administrative offices with our dental center and when the opportunity and space became available, we took advantage of it.”
With only five operating rooms in two separate buildings previously, their new location has 10 dental operating rooms within 4,000 square feet.
If you are interested in giving back to the community through CincySmiles, they offer volunteer opportunities across every area of their organization. Some ways to help out, Dreyes says, are to help assemble dental kits or simply donate items to put into the dental kits (toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, mouthwash, etc.). There are also opportunities available in the administrative, technical, and committee departments.
To learn more about the programs and volunteer positions that CincySmiles offers, go to www.cincysmiles.org