By Hannah Barnes, Communication Specialist

Oral hygiene is a key part of living a healthy and happy lifestyle. Individuals living with developmental disabilities often have more frequent and more severe oral health problems than the general population. Most individuals served by Hammer are on Medical Assistance, Minnesota’s Medicaid program. They are limited to one exam and cleaning per year, and additional care is not typically covered. That’s why Delta Dental’s assistance has been so important to the individuals we serve.

Delta Dental has supported Hammer by awarding us grants for the last four years. The most recent grant totaled $30,000. This support has been crucial to a happy lifestyle for many of the individuals we support, including Gabe.

Gabe was experiencing extreme pain in his mouth. He is generally not the type to express pain unless it is severe, so his caregivers knew something was wrong when he complained about it. Upon getting it checked out at the dentist, he found out that he needed a root canal.

The root canal he needed would not be covered by his insurance, and was going to cost over $1,700, which would have been impossible for him to afford. Although he is always saving his money, Gabe does not currently work, and attends a day program instead.

That’s where Delta Dental helped out. Through their grant, Gabe was able to get the root canal he needed this past August. When the procedure was done, he was thrilled.

Gabe has stated that he is grateful for the grant from Delta Dental, as it has allowed him to live a happy and comfortable life.

“He is back to his old self, making jokes,” Patience Zelee, Program Manager of the home Gabe lives at, said. “His confidence level is where it was before all of this.”

Thank you, Delta Dental, for your continuous support. It has helped many individuals like Gabe live life to its fullest and achieve the smile they want.