Eighteen locals in dire need of dental care received fillings, root canals and other pricey services at no cost thanks to the generosity of an area entrepreneur.
Rick James, owner of the Doylestown-based guided bike tour agency Encore Rides, participated in HealthLink Dental Clinic’s Adopt A Day program.
The initiative invites businesses, organizations and individuals to “sponsor” a day of services at the Southampton nonprofit, which provides free dental care to low-income workers and military veterans in Bucks and Montgomery counties.
A one-day sponsorship costs $500 and could assist HealthLink in providing a low-wage earner with their first-ever dentist visit; a military veteran with a root canal for a tooth that may have otherwise just been extracted; or a filling for a single mother who has been in pain for months. A five-day sponsorship is also available for $2,000.
James adopted a Thursday in April to correspond with the start of the bike tour season. The sponsorship resulted in a social media blitz on Facebook, which updated the public on the services being provided at HealthLink and the patients being helped thanks to Encore Rides’ support. The $500 donation resulted in the clinic’s ability to provide more than $5,000 in dental services to patients.
By day’s end, 18 members of the community walked through the clinic doors to receive needed dental care. Seven of those appointments were for cleanings provided by students from Montgomery County Community College’s dental hygiene program. The students were overseen by faculty.
Additionally, HealthLink’s part-time dentist and dental assistant treated 11 more patients and provided services such as extractions, fillings, root canals and crown build-ups or insertions.
“We are thrilled to have the support of local business owners like Rick James,” said Raquel Braemer, executive director of HealthLink. “A healthy mouth is the gateway to improved overall health and wellbeing. When we provide a dental home for vulnerable adults in our community, we are doing more than cleaning their teeth.”
According to Braemer, a healthy mouth can increase an individual’s confidence and employability, reduce the likelihood of them having to visit the ER or miss work for mouth pain, and create good habits that lead to a decreased risk of uncontrolled diabetes, heart disease, dementia and more.
It was for all these reasons that James “adopted” a day at HealthLink for the second time. The first was in 2019.
“Oral health is an important factor in one’s overall health and HealthLink’s mission is to provide this care to those in need in our communities,” he said.
For the past seven years, James has worked closely in advancing HealthLink’s mission as a member of its board of directors. On Jan. 1, he was named board chair, replacing Dr. Bernard Dishler, who led the board for six years.
Drawing from his corporate experience with The Prudential Insurance Company of North America and Aetna Insurance, James began volunteer work with HealthLink as an appointed member on the nonprofit’s finance committee. In 2014, he was invited to serve on the board of directors, and for the last six years has served as HealthLink’s vice president and development committee chair.
HealthLink Dental Clinic is located at 1775 Street Road in Southampton. No-cost services include oral examinations, X-rays, dental hygiene treatments, extractions, root canals and patient education. Those interested in learning more and seeing if they qualify for treatment can visit healthlinkdental.org or call 215-364-4247.
Information on the Adopt A Day program is available at healthlinkdental.org/adoptaday. Sponsorship includes pre- and post-event press releases to local media; multiple posts on social media throughout the day (tagging the business’ accounts); mentions in the Monthly Smile Report; and feature in monthly emails to local dental offices and clinic supporters.
Samantha Bambino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org