Delta Dental Foundation opens clinic at VOA homeless shelter

Homeless people in Lansing suffering from lack of dental care have a resource for dental health through a recently opened clinic supported by the Delta Dental Foundation at the Volunteers of America, 430 N. Larch St., in Lansing.
The dental clinic celebrated it's grand opening on Valentine's Day and will serve 2,000 patients a year. With four dental chairs, X-ray equipment, and a rotation of skilled dental professionals, the clinic addresses a critical need for a population that experiences daily pain, lost teeth, poor nutrition and whole body disease that results from poor oral health.
"It's critically important that everyone have access to good dental care," says Terry Battaglieri, director of the Delta Dental Foundation. "Homeless people are no different. They lack dental care and lack means to get to it. We think this clinic will go a long ways toward helping to ease the problem—at least in Lansing."
Delta Dental stats reveal that dental problems have been identified in two-thirds of homeless people nationwide, and that 41 percent of homeless people say they lack dental care. The latest figures from 2011 show that preventable dental conditions treated in Michigan emergency rooms totaled $58 million.
Battaglieri says that the clinic has been in the making for nearly three years. After taking a tour of the Sparrow VOA practice, Battaglieri said Delta Dental saw the opportunity to provide seamless medical and dental care all in one place.
"By doing a simple head, neck and mouth exam, dentists can detect 120 signs and symptoms of other diseases," she notes. "A trip to the dentist is not only good for your mouth, but it's good for your whole body. That's why we're so excited about this clinic. We can connect good oral health to good overall health, and be referred from dentist to physician and vice-versa."
The Delta Dental Foundation provided a $322,404 grant to fund the construction and equipping of the clinic at the VOA. The clinic is next door to the Sparrow medical practice that opened at the VOA in 2014.
Source: Terry Battaglieri, Director, Delta Dental Foundation
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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