TOMBALL, TX (March 1, 2018) Tomball Regional Health Foundation (TRHF) is proud to announce the partnership with Tomball Emergency Assistance Ministries (TEAM) to provide emergency dental care to low-income, qualifying adults and seniors in the Tomball, Magnolia, and Waller areas.  In recent years TEAM has assisted with dental needs but, along with providing assistance for medical, prescription, and vision needs, did not have adequate funding to meet the demand for, often expensive, emergency dental care. The $50,000 grant from TRHF will allow TEAM’s clients to apply for dental care assistance up to the maximum of $1,500 per person, and to increase our prior assistance provided by 30% over the one-year grant period. The goal of both organizations is to not only alleviate the pain and suffering caused by tooth decay and infection, but to also prevent oral diseases from developing into more serious health complications. Such disease includes diabetes, heart disease, and even kidney disease, leukemia, oral cancer and pancreatic cancer. Research shows that more than 90% of all systemic diseases have oral manifestations. In addition, oral diseases can interfere with eating, speaking, daily activities and self-esteem. For many, the primary reason for not visiting the dentist is the cost. Low income individuals and those on fixed incomes often make decisions to forego the dental care they need in order to pay their rent or utility bills. Charles H. Norman, III D.D.S., President of the American Dental Association, states, “Many won’t receive treatment, at least not as soon as they should. The Affordable Care Act will improve availability of care for many children of low-income families but most adults, even those who qualify for state-assisted medical coverage, will not receive care because there is no mandate.”

The same article reports that 28% of those 35 to 44 years of age have untreated tooth decay, and the rate is 18% in adults 68 and older. The occurrence of tooth decay is unacceptably high and disproportionately affects minorities and low-income populations. Unmet dental needs are falling for children but rising among low-income adults and seniors according to the ADA Health Policy Institute.

Clients in need of emergency dental care can apply through the TEAM ministry office on Tuesdays or Thursdays from 10:00 to 1:00. To qualify for assistance, a recipient’s income must be below the Federal Poverty Level.  TEAM has developed guidelines for providing this assistance.  Clients are interviewed and qualified by TEAM’s experienced caseworkers, the individual’s dental costs are verified with the respective providers and payments are made directly to the provider.  A client may request funds for dental care up to the amount of $1,500.

“It was almost unbelievable, and unbearable to think about, but one of our patients Julie came to the TEAM office recently with a molar she had tried to remove herself with a pair of pliers. It was a mess, and she was in pain. TEAM was able to provide assistance to Julie, and so many others like her, through the TRHF grant. And we are so grateful we now can, said Becky Loving, Executive Director.”