SARANAC LAKE - Lake Placid oral surgeon Dr. Beth Brunner, DMD, MD, has joined the Saranac Lake Voluntary Health Association's team of dentists implementing approved applications as part of the SLVHA Dental Emergency Care Assistance Program.
"Since we opened in 2011, we have seen a lot of people in need," said Erin Miller the Lake Placid oral surgery office assistant. "When we were contacted by Brenda (Reeve) from the Saranac Lake Voluntary Health Association to help fulfill their dental grants, we were honored. There are so many hard-working people that don't have insurance that don't fit into a government aid program and simply can't afford dental care. We do offer some discounts, depending on financial need, but there is never enough available to help everyone in need."
So far this year the SLVHA has approved 21 exams, cleanings and X-rays, 10 dentures and partials, eight emergency procedures, one tissue grafting, and one root canal. In additional Dr. Tony Small from the Tri-Lakes Center for Dentistry has conducted numerous extractions. Upon approval from the SLVHA Dental Emergency Care Assistance Committee, the outlined procedures were either partially paid or paid in full, based on financial need.
Dr. Beth Brunner, DMD, MD of Lake Placid Oral Surgery poses with her staff Kasey Donahue, Erin Miller and Beth Goodman.
(Photo — Diane Chase)
"I think Brenda at the SLVHA is fantastic to talk with," Miller said. "She is great with patients and knows how to make people comfortable when applying for the dental grants. The patients that are being helped are not looking for a handout. Sometimes they have to be urged to apply so that the procedure won't become a financial burden. Brenda makes people feel comfortable. That is why we like working with her."
In 2010, the SLVHA began offering financial assistance for basic dental care to residents living within the Saranac Lake Central School District. For approval, applicants need to provide proof that the dental visit or the dental process will pose a financial hardship. All costs for the procedures are not necessarily covered by the SLVHA. In most cases the individual bears a small portion of the financial responsibility. (People can receive an application by contacting the SLVHA at 891-0910 or online at www.saranaclakevha.org.)
"The need for the SLVHA dental assistance program is immense," says Miller. "When people get a toothache or anything that gets into the head, they may fear the expense and put treatment off. This program is great as it helps the people that fall between the cracks. More people have to become aware that this money is available and to take advantage of it."
The Saranac Lake Voluntary Health Association Inc. is a nonprofit organization established in 1897 and dedicated to improving the health of the people within the Saranac Lake Central School District through funding healthcare initiatives and scholarships for students in the medical, nursing, rehabilitative and allied fields of study.