In many cases, oral health problems go undetected until there are acute symptoms, such as pain or infection. Untreated gum disease and caries (cavities) lead to serious health consequences including tooth loss, infection, damage to bone or nerves, and an increased risk of more serious diseases. Infection from an abscessed tooth can spread to other parts of the body and, ultimately, may even lead to death. However, dental disease is almost entirely preventable.

Older adults may have less access to oral care services because of lower incomes and/or a lack of dental insurance. People with developmental disabilities often cannot take care of their teeth and are unable to access oral care treatment. Medicaid pays only for extractions and Medicare covers nothing. Veterans are only eligible for dental benefits if the dental condition is service connected or if he/she has a 100% disability rating.


For the past 27 years, D-DENT (Dentists for the Disabled and Elderly in Need of Treatment) has been helping to improve the oral health of Oklahomans in need by providing preventative dental education and free comprehensive dental care through a network of volunteer dentists.

Last year alone, D-DENT was able to leverage over $1.2 million worth of dental care, through a combination of donated services and paid lab costs, to 700 Oklahomans – that’s an average benefit of $2,025 per person served.

A grant from Impact Oklahoma would enable D-DENT to recruit new dentists and expand our capacity to serve more Oklahomans in desperate need of dental care.