Years of neglect can take its toll on your health. No one knows that better than Devang Modi, D.M.D., director of the dental clinic at John F. Kennedy (JFK) Medical Center. He has seen countless patients come through the clinic doors who haven’t seen a dentist in many years, sometimes even decades.
According to Dr. Modi, “We want to help them avoid some of the more serious health problems that can result from years of neglect.”
“Prior to Delta Dental’s support, the clinic was similar to every other clinic treating the underserved,” he said. “Delta Dental’s support has allowed us to improve our standard of care and expand our own vision to offer services, such as implants, that would not have been possible five or six years ago.”
As a result, the success stories are numerous. Dr. Modi shared a few highlights.
•Paul’s* lower front teeth were stained from smoking. His upper dentures also didn’t fit well. But he couldn’t afford the dental work to correct his smile, and so he simply stopped smiling. The Delta Dental of New Jersey Foundation grant allowed us to restore Paul’s smile, with a new upper denture and crowns on his lower teeth. Today, he jokes that Hollywood will be calling him any day now.
•Cindy* had been fitted with crowns that weren’t quite right. She joked that she looked like the donkey from Shrek. She couldn’t afford more dental work, but this proud woman also didn’t want a handout. That’s why she never went back to get her teeth fixed. The grant money from Delta Dental allowed us to replace her crowns. Cindy’s new smile fits her mouth perfectly!
•Jane* was a nursing home resident with a perpetually grumpy demeanor. She never smiled, and had a hard time eating, both because she had no teeth. After treatment at JFK Dental Clinic through the Delta Dental grant, Jane’s personality changed overnight. She couldn’t stop smiling, and she now looks forward to meal time and social interaction.
In 2013, the Delta Dental of New Jersey Foundation grant was used to purchase a digital x-ray machine, and is a source of funding for other state-of-the-art equipment and supplies. It also helps cover exams, routine cleanings, fillings, extractions, root canal therapy, crowns, dentures, and implants. The clinic serves patients of all ages in Middlesex County and other central New Jersey communities. It is staffed by two dental residents, one part-time hygienist, and about 50 dentists and specialists who volunteer their time.
“Words do not do justice to what the Delta Dental grant has meant to us, our patients, and our dental residents,” he added. “Heroes come in many forms, and Delta Dental has certainly been a hero at JFK. I hope this partnership continues to grow.”
The Delta Dental of New Jersey Foundation just awarded a 2014 grant to JFK that will continue to support dental care for seniors, a population that often times goes without care due to lack of dental coverage and/or lack of access to care.
*Patient names have been changed for privacy.