March 9, 2023, 11:30 AM EST
Small Business Spotlight: Foundry Dental Helps People Find Their Smiles Again
When visiting a substance use recovery program in his home state of Alabama, Dr. Michael McCracken, D.D.S., Ph.D., saw a clear need: Many of the participants at the Foundry Rescue Mission and Recovery Center required dentistry. As a Doctor of Dental Surgery, McCracken knew that proper dental care can offer benefits beyond just better oral health. “When people are able to access dental care, it improves the outcomes on their recovery experience,” McCracken said.
So beginning with just an empty room and a chair, McCracken began to provide dental services. That practice later grew into the Foundry Dental Center, which has served more than 35,000 patients to date across three locations.
In addition to providing dental care, the practice also began offering the opportunity for women in the Foundry Women's Recovery program to begin working at the clinic, where they learned valuable workplace skills. Today, many of the staff are actually graduates of the recovery program who have become dental hygienists and dental students themselves.
“We're set up as an educational program,” McCracken said. “I really love to see the progression and the development of people as they learn and grow.”
In recognition of its ongoing work helping those in the community experiencing substance use and housing issues, the Foundry Dental Center was selected as a recipient of The Synchrony Pillars Project Grant, which honors small business owners and healthcare providers who are propelling change.
The grant helps the Foundry Dental Center with its current and future plans, which include a range of oral care needs—from routine checkups to complicated restorations, implants and surgeries, particularly among people with coexisting medical conditions. Foundry also hopes to add another anesthesiologist to treat patients with severe disabilities who require sedation, a population frequently in need of dental care. This comprehensive care requires investments in the clinic and those it serves.
“We're blessed with a lot of technology here,” McCracken said about the clinic's state-of-the-art, in-house equipment. “We have a very well-equipped digital lab where we make teeth at half-price or 75% off the normal fee, but it's still expensive.”
Foundry has been able to offer its clients the CareCredit credit card, a Synchrony solution that offers flexible financing solutions to help patients get the services they need and help providers serve more people in their communities.
“CareCredit is a valuable tool that we use to help our patients afford treatment that is beyond what they can initially pay,” Foundry Dental Center's Patient Recruiter Ashley Cox said. “It enables them to have a state-of-the-art restoration [and make monthly payments].”
Cox says that for some clients, putting off dental treatment due to cost can limit which treatments are available. If deterioration of the bone occurs, patients may no longer qualify for implants or restoration at all.
“CareCredit is the hero in these patients' stories,” Cox said. Through financing solutions and with the discounted fee the clinic offers, the clinic has provided almost $3 million of dental services to the local community. With the CareCredit solution in place and the Pillar Project Grant supporting Foundry Dental Center's growth, residents of Bessemer and Birmingham can find and afford crucial healthcare.
McCracken explains that the clinic has a three-part mission: to get people out of pain, to get their mouths healthy and to help them smile again. Now, he's better able to deliver on all three.
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