Arizona has the 14th largest population of homeless Veterans. While most Americans believe that all Veterans' healthcare needs are met by the Veterans Administration (VA), dental/oral healthcare is only offered for to those Veterans who are 100 percent disabled due to their service. Therefore, thousands of Veterans suffer from the lack of dental/oral care that negatively affects their health and overall wellness.
Brighter Way Institute works closely with the VA, as well as other organizations, with the goal of meeting dental needs of Veterans with quality and timely care. The Brighter Way Dental Center sees and cares for over 1,000 veterans each year.
With a growing rate of children in America without dental insurance, Arizona holds a large percentage of these children. Most of the families with these children live at or below the federal poverty level. These children have little to no access to proper care for their dental needs.
Dental issues and pain can greatly reduce children's ability to focus in school and hinder their daily activities. This is an area in public health that is overlooked and unfortunately this causes these children's oral health to continue to worsen.
The Parsons Center for Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, located in the Murphy School District, was created to reduce the amount of children with no access to dental care. This dental center sees children, both insured and uninsured, and provides most dental services including orthodontics.
Dental care in the foster care system is a difficult subject that is still being observed and studied for working solutions. Due to many obstacles in foster care and in children's lives, from funding to providing care in appropriate settings, this area in dental care is leaving children with unmet needs. Brighter Way is working to bring light to this area of dentistry and help vulnerable children in foster care.
At-risk youth at the Canyon State Academy, located in Queen Creek, are all in the foster system, all low-income (eligible for free/reduced lunches), and predominately minorities. They enter CSA with profound dental disease that must be resolved to alleviate their constant pain and allow them to succeed in their academic and therapeutic goals.
Brighter Way at CSA works with the youth in taking care of many of their dental needs. Although the center there is relatively small, it makes a huge impact on the lives of those children.
Homeless and poor working families do not have much help getting dental needs taken care of. Most of these individuals and families do not have access to dental insurance nor can they afford to have dental work done. With little to no access to dental care, there is a very large population that have to live with oral conditions that are painful, reduce self-confidence, and more serious cases can likely develop into overall health issues if left unchecked.
The Brighter Way Dental Center, formerly known as the CASS Dental Clinic, stands to help individuals and families by offering reduced-fee services. These services are to help people who could not afford them at a for-profit dental clinic. The Brighter Way Dental Center offers most services from exams and fillings to dentures and implants. The reduced fee services are open to anyone who may have dental needs and the center also accepts most insurances.