Contract with Morris County Expands Dental Care Access for Seniors at Zufall Health
A new contract between Zufall Health and the Morris County Department of Human Services is expanding access to dental care for local seniors.
The County recently awarded our health center $169,000 to provide comprehensive, no-cost oral health services to Morris County residents ages 60 and above who do not have dental insurance. The free services began in May and will continue as long as funds are available.
Jade Duncan, DDS, M.Ed., director of dental services, says the contract provides welcome relief as the demand for dental care at Zufall continues to rise sharply. The health center saw 12,135 dental patients in 2022, an almost 50 percent increase from 2014’s 8,145 patients, Duncan reported.
“Demand for dental care grew despite its temporary suspension during a portion of 2020 during the peak of COVID-19,” Duncan said. “We continue to see a great deal of need among low-income people in our community, often seniors, so we’re grateful for the opportunity to better serve them.”
Howard Rappoport, DDS, a dentist in Zufall’s Dover office, said that missing dental appointments can be particularly harmful to older adults.
“As people age, oral health plays an increasingly important role in overall health. Dental infections such as gum disease and abscesses can have a devastating effect on our bodies, especially later in life. Neglect can lead to the loss of teeth, affecting our smile and our enjoyment of food. And importantly, heart disease and other serious systemic conditions have been related to dental disease,” Rappoport remarks.
During the contract, Rappoport and colleagues in the dental department will provide no-cost care to eligible patients at any Zufall dental site and on the Zufall Health Delta Dental Mobile. Zufall’s full suite of high-quality dental services will be available, including preventive care (oral exams, oral cancer screenings, x-rays, and cleanings), restorative care (fillings, posts, crowns, bridges, and dentures), periodontal procedures, endodontic procedures, and oral surgery, including extractions. Additionally, our Community Dental Health Coordinators (CDHCs) will support patients’ navigation of their oral health treatment plans as needed.
Qualifying patients may contact Gloria Aldana at 973-328-3344 x 1139 for assistance making an appointment.