A grant from the Florida Blue Foundation is helping St. Petersburg Free Clinic provide dentures to low-income, uninsured and underserved adults in Pinellas County. The new program, which launches in May, meets a growing need in the community for dentures.P1040247

St. Petersburg Free Clinic provided oral health screenings, x-rays, dental cleanings, tooth extractions and fillings for cavities to 628 uninsured adults last year. The new “Smile, St. Pete!” program expands its dental health services to include full and partial dentures and flippers, which can prevent disease, improve a person’s overall health and quality of life and help them gain employment.

“Dental health is one of our most frequently requested health services,” said Beth Houghton, executive director of St. Petersburg Free Clinic. “More than 100 people per month call to request our help in getting dentures, and until now, we were not able to help.”

St. Petersburg Free Clinic estimates that the $200,000 grant from the Florida Blue Foundation will allow it to provide dentures, partial dentures or flippers to 300 people through the “Smile, St. Pete!” program. Interested uninsured adults will need to undergo financial and medical screening, receive a dental exam, x-rays and cleaning, and meet with a dentist through the St. Petersburg Free Clinic to determine eligibility for the program.

St. Petersburg Free Clinic is one of only six Florida community-based health nonprofit organizations to receive a total of $1.5 million in grants from the Florida Blue Foundation’s 2015 Advance Innovation and Promote Solutions in the Health Care System initiative. The grants were awarded to organizations with innovative ideas, programs and best practice models that improve the health of underserved, multicultural populations across Florida. The Florida Blue Foundation supports programs that address critical issues of affordability, access and quality in nontraditional health service delivery.