Volunteer to Treat Colorado Patients with Special Needs

Elisa LlodraFeatured News

 By Jeff Lodl, D.D.S.
From the Summer 2022 Journal of the Colorado Dental Association

Dr. Eric Van Zytveld (left) and DDS patient, Annette.

As a longtime Dental Lifeline Network (DLN) volunteer for the Colorado Donated Dental Services (DDS) program, I have helped change and save the lives of DDS patients and I currently serve as the president of the DLN • Colorado Board.

Since the launch of the Colorado DDS program, in partnership with the Colorado Dental Association, 37 years ago, thousands of patients have successfully received dental treatment that now enables them to confidently smile and eat more comfortably. Today, over 705 dentists and nearly 150 dental labs continue to volunteer their time and resources in Colorado.

We are in a unique position to give back to our communities and provide treatment to patients who would otherwise be unable to access care. The DDS program makes it easy for dentists to change the lives of people in need, like Annette.

Annette, 73, lives in Aurora and suffers from spinal stenosis, a condition that causes pressure on the nerves that travel through the spine as a result of the narrowing of the spaces within the spine. She is one of the 13,272 DDS program patients to benefit from comprehensive dental care in Colorado. She also has sciatica and arthritis in her knees where she often experiences pain and difficulty walking; she uses a cane to stabilize herself. Annette worked in banking and accounting until she was unable to continue, which also left her without a steady income.

Her dental health had deteriorated. She had many missing teeth and sensitivity in her remaining teeth. Her partial upper denture was five years old and cracked and it was difficult for her to eat. Sadly, Annette struggled to make ends meet and wasn’t able to afford the dental care she desperately needed. Together with Straumann USA LLC, Zest Dental Solutions, and Auraria Dental Lab, Dr. Eric Van Zytveld along with two other local dentists provided a total of seven extractions and two partial dentures. Thanks to these generous DDS volunteers, Annette is now able to eat pain free and her overall health has greatly improved.

“The reason I’ve done DDS for so long is because the patients are so appreciative,” said Dr. Van Zytveld, a DDS volunteer and DLN • Colorado board director. “The staff really gets involved and they see the huge need that these patients have and then feel so much better about their ability to impact someone’s life. The satisfaction you get from being able to help other people is beyond compare.”

DLN • Colorado is so thankful to its volunteers and supporters across the state for the time and resources invested to help others. These contributions have made a positive impact in changing the lives of people who need it most. When you volunteer with the DDS program, you provide care to people with great needs here in Colorado.

My staff and I love working with DDS patients and I encourage you to consider seeing at least ONE patient! It’s easy, sign up today by using the QR Code, visiting WillYouSeeOne.org, or by contacting a DDS coordinator: Hayden Kindschi (inside Denver metro area) at 303-534-3931 or JoDee Hambright at 303-534-3863.

Will You See One?

Here’s how it works:

Volunteer Dentists

  • Are asked to take one patient each year.
  • Review the patient profile in advance.
  • Choose to see or decline any patient.
  • Determine their own treatment plans.
  • See patients in their offices.
  • Never pay lab costs.
  • Provide minimal paperwork.

The DDS Coordinator Will

  • Determine patients’ eligibility.
  • Ensure that patients arrive on time for appointments including solving transportation issues.
  • Be the liaisons between volunteers and the patients readily available to solve problems.

Arrange for assistance from specialists and laboratories.