A Volunteer Dental Clinic is Changing Care in Syracuse’s Dental Desert A Volunteer Dental Clinic is Changing Care in Syracuse's Dental Desert

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — With health care on the minds of many Americans during open enrollment season for Medicare coverage, nearly 23 percent of Americans have no dental coverage, which is approximately 74 million people in the U.S. Forty percent of Americans without dental insurance, put off needed dental procedures and even annual checkups, according to the CDC.  Syracuse has become a Dental Desert with few dentists that accept patients with little to no coverage.

Amaus Dental Services accepts patients who cannot pay. The dental office is the only free dental clinic in the Syracuse area. Volunteers also train students who assist them during procedures.

The dental office is a part of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception outreach program funded by grants, donations by benefactors, and local faith communities, hospitals, and medical practices. Serving a greater purpose for many volunteers who believe their work at Amaus Dental Services is an extension of their religion in providing a helping hand for the community.

Nearly 22 doctors are volunteering every month or every other month. Dr. Leah Lambert is a Dental Hygienist at Amaus Dental Services and travels a long way to volunteer…

Dr. Lambert: I live in Binghamton, so I drive here but I am gladly happy to come here because I know the work that we’re doing is necessary and so much needed for the community

However,  at the end of the day, the drive is worth it because she receives more than she gives.

Dr. Lambert: Just their gratitude for us, I mean, it’s like the best feeling, it’s like you know you’re doing the right thing at the end of the day.

Amaus Dental Services provides training opportunities for students from Syracuse University and Le Moyne College to assist during procedures with patients. The clinic sees this as a teachable moment in two ways: for students to have a hands-on learning experience and be better equipped dental physicians who can handle all individuals, insured or not, with care.

To inquire about setting up an appointment, volunteering, or donating, call (315) 802-6741 or visit their site.

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