Seattle/King County Clinic Will Highlight Urgency for Dental Care Access Volunteers expected to treat more than 2,000 in desperate need of dental careThe Washington Dental Service Foundation (WDSF) will join nearly 3,800 volunteers and organizations in a massive effort to deliver an estimated $3.5 million worth of free care this week at the Seattle/King County Clinic at the Seattle Center.
The Seattle/King County Clinic, organized by the Seattle Center Foundation, is expected to provide dental, medical and vision care to more than 4,000 individuals at no cost from October 27-30, with the majority seeking dental care treatment. Dental services include root canals, extractions, fillings, crowns and cleanings.
The Clinic will offer much-needed dental care for thousands of Washington residents, many of whom have Apple Health (Medicaid) coverage. Last year, less than a quarter of adults with Apple Health coverage were able to access dental care in their communities.
“Even with the great work of Community Health Center dental clinics and other providers, too many people in King County and our state still endure pain and health risks because they don’t receive regular dental care,” said King County Board of Health Chair Rod Dembowski. “The Seattle/King County Clinic is providing our community with a public service, but also is a reminder that we have work to do to ensure everyone in our state has access to care.”
In response to the unmet need in Washington State, WDSF and other dental care advocates are urging lawmakers to make investments in our state’s Medicaid dental program to increase access to care, starting with a measured approach that would allow for pregnant women and patients with diabetes to get the dental care they need to improve their health and prevent expensive medical complications down the road.
“Ensuring our state’s most vulnerable have access to preventive dental care is a smart investment that has the potential to save taxpayers and the state money in the long term,” said State Sen. Joe Fain (R-Auburn). “Participation in this event is an effective Band-Aid, but local and dependable access to dental care is proven to improve quality of life and overall health outcomes for patients.”
This is the third consecutive year of the Seattle/King County Clinic. And in spite of the Puget Sound region reporting great economic prosperity, organizers say that the need for the Clinic and other charitable efforts persist.
“Visible decayed or missing teeth, pain and gum disease can impact job prospects, school attendance and grades, nutrition and quality of life,” said Diane Oakes, President and CEO of the Washington Dental Service Foundation. “This four-day clinic is a call to action. Our legislature should support meaningful solutions toward dental care access so that one day soon, such clinics will be no longer necessary.”
The Seattle/King County Clinic will operate October 27-30 at the Fisher Pavilion at the Seattle Center. Doors open at 12:30 a.m. and free admission tickets are given first come, first served. Attendants are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing, and bring water and snacks.
For more information, go to www.seattlecenter.org/patients.
About Washington Dental Service Foundation
Washington Dental Service Foundation is founded and sustained by Delta Dental of Washington, a non-profit organization that is the leading dental benefits company in the state. WDSF is dedicated to improving overall health through sustainable programs and public policies that improve oral health. For more information, visit: www.deltadentalwa.com/foundation.