Smile Generation® and its nationwide network of trusted dental practices recently completed a two-month fundraising campaign in support of the Pacific Dental Services® (PDS) Foundation, a non-profit organization that seeks to impact overall health by improving oral health through service opportunities locally, nationally and around the world. The organizations partnered to raise money to increase access to dental care for patients with special needs and to provide specialized training for clinicians focused on special needs dentistry.
The fundraising efforts consisted of two parts; the first was the 60-day “Smile for Special Needs” campaign that ran from Sept. 1 to Oct. 31. During that timeframe, patients at Smile Generation-trusted dental practices received discounts off their dental services with a suggested donation to the campaign. In total, over 8,000 donors contributed to the campaign to raise over $370,000.
The second component was a weeklong “Stroll for Special Needs 5K” event that brought supporters together in different communities across the nation to stroll, run, walk, or roll to raise funds for the cause. Over 1,000 participants in 27 states joined the efforts and “strolled” a combined total of over 3,000 miles to raise more than $203,000.
“Smile Generation and the PDS Foundation have created a partnership and culture of serving the underserved in our communities,” said Michael Le, Executive Director of the PDS Foundation. “People with disabilities have the same oral healthcare needs as everyone else, but with the Smile for Special Needs campaign and Stroll for Special Needs 5K, we’re committed to increasing access to the exceptional care, compassion and understanding that they deserve.”
For a person with special needs, typical daily tasks such as brushing your teeth, eating breakfast, or driving to an appointment can be hard. Visiting the dentist is even harder. In fact, one of the biggest challenges facing the 61 million people with disabilities in the U.S. is simply access to competent oral healthcare.
The PDS Foundation has been providing specialized dental care to patients with all abilities through a one-of-a-kind dental office in Phoenix, Arizona since 2019. The PDS Foundation Dentists for Special Needs office features specially trained clinicians and team members who are equipped with behavioral and environmental care techniques to support each patient’s unique needs. Dentists for Special Needs also offers a family-friendly, sensory-integrated dental experience including sensory rooms and lights that offer patients a calm and relaxing environment, an office and parking lot that is wheelchair accessible, and teledentistry for emergency consultations from home using a smartphone or tablet.
One donor cited their grandson with disabilities as the reason for donating to the Smile for Special Needs campaign.
“I am making this donation to honor my 18-year-old grandson who has profound quadriplegic cerebral palsy. I'd like to express my gratitude for all dentists who recognize the unique issues of special-needs children and adults, and who treat them with loving care and compassion.”
“We are extremely grateful for the support from our communities across the nation,” said Le. “100% of all campaign proceeds go to the Special Needs Dentistry program, which truly changes lives. Each supporter makes a difference, and we commend you.”
To learn more or donate to the PDS Foundation, click here.