Senator Hassell-Thompson Notes Dental Answers Are Just A Phone Call Away

Ruth Hassell-Thompson

October 11, 2006

State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D-Bronx/Westchester) encouraged New Yorkers with questions about oral health to take advantage of a toll-free hotline manned by multi-lingual dentists on Tues. October 24 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

"Many people have questions about oral or dental health," said Senator Hassell-Thompson. "If you ever wanted to ask a dentist about whitening your teeth, or wondered why your gums are bleeding, this is an ideal opportunity to get answers."

Participating dentists from the New York State Dental Association will be on hand to take calls on a range of oral health topics. All calls are confidential and dentists are available to answer questions in English, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Hindi and Bengali. The Dial-A-Smile toll-free hotline is 1-877-833-8479.

Senator Hassell-Thompson noted that the health of our teeth and mouth are linked to overall health and well being in a number of important ways. "Besides being needed to chew and swallow our food, poor dental health can adversely affect speech and self esteem."

For New Yorkers without dental insurance, low or reduced-cost dental care can be difficult to access, the Bronx/Westchester lawmaker said. She urged adults looking for high-quality but reduced-cost dental services to consider Family Health Plus, a public health insurance program for adults who have income or resources too high to qualify for Medicaid. Some health plans offered through Family Health Plus include dental care.

Another option, she added, is to seek dental services at a community health center or a dental school teaching clinic, such as the one offered at Columbia University on West 168th Street in Manhattan. For more information, call (212) 305-6726.

"Although it may take a little extra time for dental procedures to be completed, these facilities can definitely save you money, especially if you need extensive work," Senator Hassell-Thompson concluded. "In any case, don’t brush off dental care. Getting back on a good program of oral hygiene now can save a lot of misery later."