Making Dental Care Accessible

About 1/3 of adults in Michigan miss out on seeing a dentist each year, with seniors being a big part of this group. Navigating brain changes, dental anxiety, and the simple act of getting there can make going to the dentist more complex than one might think. Managing oral health can be particularly challenging if you have limited income, are not insured, or are underinsured. Add mobility challenges into the mix and things get even more complicated. A 2022 study by the Journal of Personalized Medicine shows that as many as 78% of older adults have experienced some tooth loss. This can have a significant impact on overall health and has even been found to have ties to cognitive impairment and dementia.

LifeCircles helps the members of our PACE program access convenient and quality health care services that includes dental care. PACE members pay nothing out of pocket for their needed dental services – which includes dentures.

We’ve collaborated with Enable Dental to offer our members access to essential dental care that may have previously been challenging for them to obtain. FOX17 showcased this partnership and assisted in spreading the word about this initiative. Enable Dental operates its accessible dental care on a rotation between our Holland and Muskegon locations every Monday and Tuesday. In cases where our PACE member’s cannot visit our locations these days, they ensure that dental care is brought directly to them, in their own homes. 

Together we work to make healthcare as accessible as a trip to the living room. We know that having dental pain has a major impact on quality of life, and it also impacts many other systems of the body. We love seeing the smiles and hearing the sighs of relief of our PACE members when they are finally able to get the care that may have been put off for years.

Our Executive Director, Heidi Gras said about the partnership: “The thing that has surprised me the most is how much people enjoy going to the dentist after having not gone for a long time. They’re really excited!”

Through our partnership with Enable we are able to offer cleanings, fillings, dentures and more, enabling our PACE members with mobility challenges to access necessary care without concerns about reaching a dental office. This care is provided at no charge to LifeCircles’ members, closing the accessibility gap for those unable to afford these critical services.

Director of Clinical Services, Shauna Wishka, PA-C, agrees: “Enable Dental’s focus on relationships, service, and accessibility aligns with our mission to serve people who may not be able to use traditional medical offices. Their team is skilled in offering dental care to individuals who may have significant dental anxiety or pain, which is exactly the type of personable care that our members expect from LifeCircles. Having the dental group at our locations frequently is a great benefit to the PACE members who use our program.”

Access to affordable dental care poses a significant challenge for many older adults. By 2029, it is estimated that 8.6 million middle-income seniors will face mobility constraints. Untreated dental issues not only affect overall quality of life but also impact overall health. 

We take pride in our partnership with Enable Dental. By offering these crucial services, we deliver on our mission to help our members enhance their quality of life and their overall wellness.

Thank you to FOX17 and reporter Andy Curtis for sharing this important partnership, and making us laugh while doing it!  

Last Updated on March 7, 2024