St. David's Stories

From One Van to Nine: The growth of St. David’s Dental Program

Nowhere can the transformation of St. David’s Foundation be more clearly seen than in the St. David’s Dental Program. At its inception in 1999, the program had one van (shared with the City of Austin) and an all-volunteer staff. Today’s Dental Program has nine vans, a team of professional staff, and continues to see record-setting growth each year.

Since the program began, the number of annual visits has increased nearly tenfold. In 2016, the Dental Program screened 28,631 children at 68 elementary schools and treated 11,331 patients, providing more than $12 million worth of free dental care to those in need in our community. Because of its commitment to improving dental health, St. David’s Foundation is working to expand care through Healthy Smiles Central Texas, a three-year grant initiative that aims to increase the number of uninsured Central Texans who have access to affordable dental care through safety net clinics in our region.

From the first van in 1999 to today’s fleet of nine, St. David’s Dental Program has seen tens of thousands of patients over the years, and helped create beautiful smiles and healthy teeth across Central Texas.

As our fleet continues to grow, we’ve been able to treat more patients. Each year, we evaluate how we can make the most impact. Whether it’s increasing our efforts to prevent future dental problems as opposed to simply treating current problems or switching to a two-year rotation between schools to see students more often, St. David’s Dental Program is a great example of what a mobile charity dental program can contribute to the community. We are proud to be a model program that is replicated around the country.

Learn more about the St. David’s Dental Program.

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