By: Duane Blankenship | Category: Other | Issue: December 2014
Eastern Oklahoma Donated Dental Services staff members include (L to R): Financial Department Manager Terry Hadley, Executive Director Michael Smith, and Program Coordinators Jill Ann Meador and Jade Ward.
In 2003, after severing relations with D-Dent, an existing donated dental service organization based in Oklahoma City, two women representing the Tulsa branch came to the executive board of the Tulsa County Dental Society (TCDS) with a plea to maintain a Tulsa office and provide local residents with donated dental services. A task force committee was established to research the feasibility of establishing a new organization in Tulsa and to determine the demand to provide local residents with donated dental services. Michael A. Kincaid, DDS, was vice president of the TCDS and acknowledged that Tulsa should have an organization to administer care for residents 65 years of age and older who were physically or mentally disabled and financially challenged.
After determining the overwhelming need for an active Tulsa-based donated dental services organization, Eastern Oklahoma Donated Dental Services, Inc. (EODDS) was established. The non-profit was formed to serve the eastern half of Oklahoma and was granted 501(c)(3) status by the end of 2003.
EODDS Executive Director Michael Smith, PhD, says, “Running full speed ahead, the newly formed organization enlisted approximately 140 Tulsa area dentists volunteering to work in conjunction with EODDS to provide no-fee services for Oklahomans, primarily in Tulsa and surrounding areas. Additionally, two representatives of International Dental Arts Laboratory agreed to serve on the EODDS Board of Directors and provide necessary laboratory procedures for EODDS patients at a reduced cost.” Since inception, in accordance with non-profit status regulations, all monies received from funding sources have been used to pay laboratory fees, administrative compensations, and EODDS business sanctioned events.
In 2013, just 10 years after inception, EODDS averaged over $4,400,000 in care provided by 320 dentists. This figure represents more donated care than California, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania and Florida combined for the same period. EODDS is the largest non-profit donated dental service in the world and has grown to that distinction in less than a decade. This truly “feel good” story has impacted the lives of over 10,000 patients by providing 20 million dollars worth of dental services in its first 10 years.
Today, the purpose of EODDS is to connect volunteer dentists with patients in the 918 and 539 area code regions in need of dental care (especially dentures) that they cannot afford. Clients must be physically or mentally disabled, low-income, and drawing their Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Clients may not have any savings accounts, CDs, trust accounts, IRAs or any other means of paying for dental care.
Elderly clients must be 65 years of age or older and low-income. Clients may not have any savings accounts, CDs, trust accounts, IRAs or any other means of paying for dental care, and all clients must meet the current year Annual Federal Poverty Guideline.
Executive Director Smith expressed his gratitude to the more than 19 foundations, trusts and organizations that are EODDS funders and have been faithful to the cause since its beginnings in 2003. “Without their support and the benevolent dentists participating in the program, EODDS would not exist. We thank them all.”
You may contact the EODDS office for an application or download one from the website and mail it in if you believe you or someone you know may qualify for services.
For more information, contact
Blankenship graduated from the University of Oklahoma and has enjoyed a lifetime career in advertising. He started his own advertising business in 1993 and enjoys creating graphic art and writing. Hobbies include hunting, fishing and pencil drawings. Duane and his wife, Janice, have been married over 50 years and are active in their church and community. He has been a contributing writer for Value News/Values Magazine since 2005.