Millions of kids lack access to routine dental care.
Why? More than 56 million people live in Dental Health Provider Shortage Areas, where there simply aren't enough dentists to meet the needs of the population. Add to that those who can't find a provider accepting government-funded dental plans, families with limited transportation, and others who are uninsured or underinsured and can't afford to pay for dental care, and you have the formula for a dental health crisis.
An estimated 8 million kids currently have untreated tooth decay that puts their overall health at risk and leads to lost time at school, malnutrition, low self-esteem, and permanent damage to their smiles that can be detrimental to their future success.
we support a system of care.
America's ToothFairy provides essential resources to our Dental Resource Program (DRP) members so they can expand access to care and be the dental home that at-risk kids need. Without them, low-income families would have no other place to go.
In 2019, our member clinics provided essential dental care to the kids who need it most. Of all the safety-net clinics we support:
- 62% are located in Dental Health Provider Shortage Areas
- 67% serve rural communities
- 90% provide services to children with special needs
- 62% provide mobile or portable services
- 79% offer school-based services
Best of all, our programs and initiatives work together to help our member clinics provide higher-quality care to more children.
In his six short years of life, Oliver has experienced medical trauma, causing behavioral issues that made other dentists turn him away. As a result, Oliver needed extensive restorative dental work. With the help of our DRP member clinic, Mobile Care Chicago (MCC), Oliver got the care he desperately needed.
Thanks to a $5,000 Patterson Dental ToothFairy grant they received through our National Mobile Care Initiative, MCC began implementing a drill-less, trauma-informed restorative method called SMART dentistry. This innovative treatment uses Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) to seal tooth decay so that a glass ionomer can bond to the tooth, providing a cavity filling that has a higher quality seal and a longer life than a traditional amalgam filling.
With this new treatment option available, Oliver had all of his restorative needs met without pain and with no combative behavior.
"Because of the funding that we received from America’s Toothfairy to purchase the supplies for SDF," MCC's Executive Director, Matt Siemer told us, "we were able to bring dental care to a child who, unfortunately, had been living in pain for over a year."
MCC has now implemented SMART fillings in all of its partner schools, providing an innovative restorative treatment not commonly available in low-income areas. Children like Oliver, who had no access to a dentist previously, now have a place that they can turn to for consistent, high-quality care.
In addition, at screen and clean events held at schools and community centers, dental professionals are able to identify patients with more extensive restorative needs and connect them to a dental home.
In November of 2019, America's ToothFairy awarded 10 Screen & Clean Grants for events to be held during National Children's Dental Health Month in February 2020. These additional events will help thousands more children access preventive care and help clinics identify patients with urgent needs.
reach kids where they live, learn and play.
Help our nonprofit partners restore smiles and prevent decay in underserved communities in 2020.
100% of your year-end contribution will support program grants for safety-net clinics across the U.S.
At her visit to San Gabriel Valley Foundation for Dental Health in La Puente, California, staff discovered Isis had decay on four anterior teeth. Amalgam (silver) fillings would be very noticeable when she smiled.
Thankfully, they had just received a donation of composite (white filling) material from America's ToothFairy in addition to fluoride varnish to protect her smile from future decay. As you can see, Isis was very happy with the results.
Product donations from America's ToothFairy not only help nonprofit clinics stretch their budgets to provide care to more children, but also help them provide better care with higher-quality products and equipment.
We are so grateful to be able to have the option of doing white fills, as we want to make sure that we aren't impacting our young patients' self esteem."
— Sondra Contino, Executive Director, San Gabriel Valley Foundation for Dental Health, La Puente, CA
To learn more about donating product to our member clinics email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the spring, Sonrisas Dental Health, one of our DRP member clinics, visited Gabriela's elementary school in San Bruno, California to provide oral health screenings to students who have limited access to dental providers. The screening team observed the young girl’s severe pain and discovered abscesses on her lower molars and numerous other teeth that were significantly broken down, some with decay so extensive that the nerves were visible.
Once her parents were informed that their financial situation would not be a barrier to care, they were quick to bring Gabriela to Sonrisas to get the treatment she desperately needed. Although she was very quiet and shy, the dental team was struck by her beautiful smile and sweetness, despite the severity of her dental decay and obvious pain. Her parents were both kind, attentive, and grateful to the dental team for helping their sweet six year old.
Over the course of five visits, the dental team extracted infected teeth to decrease the risk of infection spreading to other parts of her mouth, repaired cavities, and stabilized her pain. Because she required so many extractions, the team at Sonrisas reached out to America's ToothFairy for an In the Gap Grant to cover the significant cost of the space maintainer she needed to be sure her permanent teeth grow in properly.
Not only does America's ToothFairy help support screening programs like Sonrisas' that helped Gabriela find the help she needed, and provide donated products to help clinics stretch their budgets to provide free or reduced-cost care for urgent needs, but our In the Gap Grants also help families pay for essential services that are not covered by insurance.
Now Gabriela* is pain-free, can eat properly, and happily smiles without shame!
100% of your donation will help uninsured and underinsured kids access dental care that their families simply can't afford.
prevention is key.
Dental disease is preventable yet the majority of oral health efforts focus on restorative care, rather than prevention. This creates a revolving door of drill, fill and pull where children access services only when in severe pain or in need of invasive and expensive treatment.
Our HERO Program (Health Education Resources + Outreach) is designed to prevent future decay with awareness initiatives and educational tools designed to reach the most vulnerable children and their families.
supporting community education and outreach
Our ToothFairy 101® Community Education Kit is designed to equip anyone interacting with children, youth, and caregivers with an easy-to-use tool for oral health education.
Additional educational resources are free to download from our website. During 2019, 387 community educators accessed our free materials to teach more than 29,500 children and caregivers about oral health.
oral health action heroes engaged!
Boy and Girl Scout troops across the country earned their Oral Health Action HERO patches by completing educational projects, touring dental offices, conducting experiments and making presentations about oral health within their communities.
The girls not only learned a lot about taking care of their teeth, they were able to teach it and learn more about their community."
— Chie Longfellow, Troop 7155, Los Angeles, CA
Scout troops not only taught their communities about the importance of oral health, but also collected more than 5,900 oral care items and distributed them to neighbors in need.
Our Girl Scout Daisy Troop LOVED helping with the Smile Drive! The girls had a great time decorating the Smile Drive box and placed it in the lobby of our local elementary school. Every day the girls were so excited to see the box being filled."
— Trista Plunkett, Troop 1029, Ellicott City, MD
The Scout Patch Project initiative is exploding in popularity! More than 1,000 troops nationwide have registered to participate in 2020. We are excited to see their oral health projects and how many oral care items they'll collect this year!
providing essential preventive treatment
In addition to promoting oral health education, America's ToothFairy is proud to provide resources to protect kids' smiles from decay through our National Varnish Initiative. With support from 3M Oral Care, our member clinics were stocked with essential fluoride varnish to strengthen their patients' teeth.
Fluoride varnish is the most valued [product donation] especially for our patients ages 3 and under because if the patient will not allow us to complete a prophylaxis we can at least place fluoride to help with prevention."
— Dr. Quiana Robinson, Dental Director, Charlotte Community Health Clinic, Charlotte, NC
Fear can be a significant barrier to care within the communities our partners serve. Oral health education and preventive services provided at school can be an effective tool in reducing that fear. One of our DRP members, Community Dental Care, shared a story that illustrates this point.
Lauro, one of their health educators, provided oral health education at a local school, and found that the students there were particularly vocal about their fear and distrust of dental professionals. They were tentative as he started his presentation. A number of students shared a history of negative dental experiences. They told him that they did not want to participate in an upcoming sealant event, and that they would not allow anyone to look in their mouths.
By providing a fun, non-threatening dental experience for the children in their school setting, Lauro began to break down the barrier of fear. After the presentation, several children showed Lauro large areas of decay. One child shared that she had several abscessed teeth.
A few weeks later the students were excited to see Lauro at the sealant event, and talked with him about what they remembered from what he taught them. The presentation not only provided them with important information about oral health, but also introduced them to a dental professional they felt they could trust.
After meeting and talking with Lauro in the classroom, the vast majority of children were enthusiastic about receiving treatment, and were great helpers as fluoride and sealants were applied. Positive oral health experiences like these increase the likelihood that these children will continue to seek the oral care they need to keep them healthy.
America's ToothFairy is proud to help break down these barriers to care by providing the resources that help get dental care providers into school settings, where children are more likely to feel at ease.
Our National Sealant Initiative, sponsored by Septodont, not only protects kids' teeth from decay, but also opens doors to care through the community outreach efforts of our partner clinics and organizations.
We serve communities that are at high risk for dental disease, and find that many of the families have low health literacy and very limited resources. The generous donations we received from America's ToothFairy helped us provide 4,704 children with the information and tools they need to keep their mouths healthy."
— Crystal Yang, Development Manager, Community Dental Care, Maplewood, MN
Meet The Smile Fairy
We are thankful for everyone who gives their time to help kids learn about how to keep their smiles healthy, but we would like to shine a spotlight on Holly Jorgensen, also known as The Smile Fairy.
During National Children's Dental Health Month in February, Holly, Executive Director at Let's Smile, Inc., visited 50 classrooms and handed out toothbrushes to 914 students with help from America's ToothFairy. (Read the full story here.)
I’m grateful for America’s ToothFairy for all you are doing to provide funding, products, and equipment to help repair broken smiles, and community education tools to help foster healthy habits to last a lifetime!"
— Holly Jorgensen, Executive Director, Let's Smile, Inc., Owatonna, MN
Where Holly works, 13.2% of the children live in poverty, and 24% are enrolled in Medical Assistance. But, despite having access to dental care through the state’s Medicaid program, only 23.5% of the children enrolled received preventive dental services in the previous year. Like many states across the country, Holly's state has a lack of dental providers accepting Medicaid. In addition, families may not have transportation to travel to access dental care or parents may not be allowed time off of work to take children to dental appointments during regular dental office times.
That's why educational outreach in states like Holly's is so crucial. This year, in addition to our ToothFairy 101 Kit and free resources available on our website, we launched our Smile Guardian Initiative. With the help of generous benefactors—or "Smile Guardians"—health educators like Holly can receive Protect Your Smile Resource Kits containing the information and basic tools kids need to protect their smiles from decay.
Our first benefactor, MGE: Management Experts, made it possible to distribute 20 kits to kick off the initiative. To learn more about becoming a benefactor in 2020, click the button below:
For kids like Alex, who has autism, a visit to the dentist can be a traumatic experience and home care can be a constant struggle for their caregivers. That's why dental students at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, one of our DRP members, were inspired to hold their first annual "Autism Smiles Day" in January. (Read the full story here.)
In addition to the opportunity to immerse themselves in the experience of a dental operatory at their own pace, the kids received oral health lessons and gift bags stuffed with lots of goodies—including a toothbrush from America's ToothFairy.
Since the event, Alex has been brushing his teeth at home independently—something his mother has been hoping for for a very long time—showing how the simple gift of a toothbrush can impact the life of a child in a way that most people can't fathom.
Dr. Mary Joyce Gomez, Director at St. Bernard Hospital Dental Center in Chicago, Illinois told us, "When we were doing a dental education in one of our community schools, one of the children kept following us from room to room and when we asked him why, he said 'I just want to ask for one more toothbrush because my brother does not have one.' That broke our hearts. We gave him another kit and two adult toothbrushes for his mom and dad."
We received similar reports from clinics across the country, including VCU Dental Pediatrics in Richmond, Virginia. "There are numerous occasions that families share a toothbrush due to either economics or living lifestyles that prohibit each family member from having their own toothbrush," their Clinical Manager, Kimberly Richbourg, told us. "The most valued donation from America’s ToothFairy this year has been the toothbrushes."
Last year, thanks to donations from SmileMakers and SimpliGOOD to our Smile Drive program, America's ToothFairy provided 31,920 toothbrushes for our DRP members to hand out at their clinics and at community events such as Autism Smiles.
In addition, 1,280 volunteers across the country held Smile Drives and distributed oral hygiene products to families in need in their own communities. In total, 241,293 oral care items were distributed through our Smile Drive program last year.
Looking for a way to impact the oral health of kids in need? We have opportunities for all walks of life. Click the button below to find the option that fits you best:
celebration of smiles
Thank you to everyone who joined us in Chicago as our Executive Director, Jill Malmgren (shown, right) shared highlights from 2018 and introduced our Smile Guardian initiative.
Other speakers included our Board Chair, Ann Bruck of 3M Oral Care, Tim Rogan of Patterson Dental, and Dr. Mark Heiss from GC America, who presented a $5,000 ToothFairy Grant to the University of Illinois College of Dentistry.
celebration of smiles, charlotte
In March, Spaugh Demeron Tenny, and Pinnacle Financial Partners hosted a panel discussion about engaging the community for better oral health. Panelists included Dr. William Linger, Dr. George Betancourt, and Dr. Betty Orr.
celebration of smiles, santa monica
In April, PureLife Dental served sushi and happy hour by the Santa Monica Beach sunset. The event featured a panel of dental industry thought leaders including Dr. Bernard Gross, Charles Brown, President of the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry, and Dale Gorman, Executive Director of Kids' Community Dental Clinic, who discussed how to engage dental practices to help local children.
3rd annual tee for the toothfairy
In May, IQ Dental Supply graciously hosted our 3rd annual golf tournament in Kenilworth, New Jersey. IQ Dental's President, Sergey Kunin was on hand to help our National Programs Manager, Robin Vann, sell raffle tickets for fun prizes. The event raised more than $18,000 to support our programs.
Our 4th Annual event is going to be bigger and better than ever and will be held at Crystal Springs Resort in Sussex County, New Jersey. In addition to the golf tournament, guests can earn CE credits, relax with a massage or pedicure, or enjoy a wine tasting. This fun day also includes door prizes, raffles, live music and a hole lot more!