Leola Davidson Da Eva Maria Anaya
We're Still Here

Mon, Jul 15, 2019

Partner Spotlight: Dientes

When starting to create We’re Still Here: Stories of Seniors & Social Isolation we knew we wanted to help but that ultimately we were not the experts. So instead, we brought in 186 seniors, advocates, and organizations that live and combat this issue every day to help create this exhibition.

One of those organizations who help design We're Still Here, is featured on the action wall, and has been doing incredible work for local seniors for the past 25 years is Dientes Community Dental Care.

Read on to see how you can get involved with Dientes and help them provide affordable dental care to seniors throughout our community.

Did you know 1 in 5 seniors have lost all their teeth in the United States?¹

And, Medicare (public health insurance for seniors) does not include dental benefits.

This makes no sense.

We need YOUR help to make a difference!

We have a rising grey tide as the Baby Boomers are retiring in record numbers. But the public health insurance we all get once we turn age 65 doesn’t cover oral health. The cost of paying for dental care out of pocket or for an expensive, private dental insurance add-on is daunting for seniors on a fixed income. To make matters worse, nearly 20% of seniors are missing all their teeth. And to top it off, there are few options to get affordable care that includes dentures. We are headed towards a senior oral health crisis.

“I live on social security and can barely afford my rent - let alone food, transportation, and medical bills. Without dental care, not only am I in pain, but I feel helpless and ashamed.”
-Gwynne, 75-year old Santa Cruz County resident

When our seniors struggle to afford dental care, there are ripple effects – poor nutrition, speech challenges, reduced self-confidence, social isolation, and more. Many of these experiences are highlighted in the MAH’s exhibit, We Are Still Here.

Something needs to be done.

In celebration of National Health Centers Week, Dientes Community Dental Care is hosting a Senior Advocacy Day and invites you to stand with us and make a difference for our seniors. Every day, Dientes provides affordable dental care to seniors, adults, and children throughout our community.

Right now, Dientes is advocating for two bills proposed to Congress that will add dental care benefits to seniors.

Let’s stand together to support our seniors:

JOIN US – Come for a coffee at Dientes’ Senior Advocacy Day from 9-10:00am on Saturday, August 3rd, 2019, at 1830 Commercial Way in Santa Cruz. RSVP here.

Together, we will make our voices heard.

ADVOCATE – Contact your local representative and encourage them to vote in favor of oral health insurance coverage for seniors.

LEARN – Learn more about Dientes and the importance of oral health.

DONATE – Help provide affordable oral healthcare to our most vulnerable neighbors through a charitable donation.

¹ QuickStats: Prevalence of Edentulism in Adults Aged > 6, by Age Group and Race/Hispanic Origin – National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, MMWR Morb Mortality Wkly Rep 2017;66(3):94. Doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6603a12.

Who is Dientes Community Dental Care?

Patricia And Hugh

Dientes Community Dental Care is on a mission to create lasting oral health. For over 25 years, Dientes has worked hard to ensure that cost, insurance, income, language, and transportation don’t prevent people from visiting the dentist in Santa Cruz County.

Dientes provides affordable, high-quality, and comprehensive dental care for underserved children, adults, and seniors. 96% of their patients live at or below the federal poverty level. Dientes is one of only two dental providers in the county that provides sliding scale fees for uninsured, low-income people – serving over 11,000 patients per year.