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Golden Smiles: Celebrating 50 Years Of Dental Lifeline Network

50 Years of Service

This year we celebrate our 50th Anniversary reflecting on the many contributions made to oral health, and the countless lives that have been changed over the years. We are also celebrating the thousands of individuals, corporations, foundations and labs who have helped us along the way.  Since its inception, DLN has helped over 166,000 individuals get the life-changing care they deserve – with dignity.

How It All Began

Inspired by a desire to help people with disabilities, like his sister Barbie, to receive oral healthcare, Dr. Larry Coffee first established the organization in 1974. A year later, he launched the first major initiative: the Campaign of Concern Program in Colorado to provide oral hygiene training and education on everything from oral health diseases to adaptive tools for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities along with their caregivers. The COC would also match potential patients in need with dental care providers.

DLN in Action

A decade later, DLN launched the Donated Dental Services (DDS) program, recruiting dentists and labs to volunteer their time and services. Among the first to offer their expertise were Dr. Kit Haddow and the DaLee Dental Lab. The first patient was finally treated via the DDS program two years later thanks to the care of Dr. Ronald Concialdi. Just a few years later, the DDS program expanded with the creation of the New Jersey program thanks to Dr. Justin Stone.

What DLN Looks Like Today

Over the years, DLN continues to grow, achieving so much more than what Dr. Coffee first set out to do. In 2021, the organization announced an even grander achievement: $500M in donated dental treatment, made possible thanks to 39,000 volunteer dentists, 6,500 laboratories, and 15,500 partners, donors, and supporters.

“As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dental Lifeline Network, we honor a legacy built on 50 years of dedicated and compassionate dental care,” said Lynda Ricketson, CEO of Dental Lifeline Network. “Together, we’ve transformed lives and created enduring stories of impact. Here’s to the remarkable journey we’ve shared, and the countless lives touched along the way.”

Join the Celebration!

Throughout the year we will be honoring the individuals, volunteers, and partners that have contributed to this milestone – be on the lookout for videos, and more!

To get things started we invite you to be a part of the celebration by reading and contributing to the  50th Anniversary Board. 

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