HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – Technology is making dental work a little more affordable.
HELP Inc. in Hampton is now offering a digital dentistry program.
The program uses 3D printers to make dentures, crowns or nightguards for those who do not have dental insurance.
“We’re here to serve folks who are uninsured,” said Matthew Stearn, HELP Inc. executive director. “They may have a medical plan from their employers, but they can’t afford the dental plan. We’re here to be that dental safety net for them.”
A HELP Inc. board member suggested the new dental technology to the nonprofit organization. Using about $100,000 in grant funds from IMPACT 100 Greater Peninsula and the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters Foundation, the organization purchased the printers and scanners.
After a 3D scan, the printers make dentures, crowns and nightguards. It cuts the cost for regular dentures from $700-$4,000 to about $400 depending on income.
“It’s a life-changing experience for a lot of folks,” Stearn said. “Not only from an aesthetic point of view, being able to smile at folks and being able to show teeth. It’s important in a lot of our interactions because that is the first thing that a lot of people see.
“From a nutrition standpoint, we’re taking people from having to rely on soft foods for the rest of their lives to be able to eat a fresh vegetable. It really changes your nutritional intake potential when you have functioning teeth.”
The standard wait time is also much shorter.
“We say two weeks, give or take, from start to finish for dentures,” Stearn said.
The prints are made with “very high-quality product,” but if the product breaks?
“Just give me a call and I’ve already got it here on the computer,” Stearn said. “I can just print it out for you again. Come see me and we can get you another one.”
The application to apply is now online and it is free HERE.