The Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS) Foundation has awarded a total of more than $75,000 in “Expanding Access to Dental Care” grants to four organizations in Massachusetts. The goal of the grants is to improve the oral health of residents of the Commonwealth by supporting sustainable programs that improve access to dental care. Two of the four grant recipient organizations are located right here in the Berkshires including:

Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires (VIM) in Great Barrington was awarded $16,000 to fund additional dental hygienist hours to support the all-volunteer dentists in its free dental clinic. VIM’s dental program is the fastest growing of its services. Some patients have never seen a dentist or haven’t had care in years, and many require extensive treatment plans carried out over several months. VIM expects to treat an additional 200 patients in the upcoming year.

Hillcrest Dental Care, Inc. in Pittsfield was awarded $20,000 to help the organization provide care to underserved Berkshire County children via a portable dental unit. The unit is expected to serve at least 400 children in its first year. The portable dental unit will be transported to sites including Head Start, other early childhood programs, public and private schools, the Salvation Army, places of worship, and other community organizations. The unit also will visit Hillcrest Educational Center’s three residential programs and day school for youth with psychiatric, behavioral, and developmental disorders.

(press release sent to WSBS from the Mass Dental Society for online and on-air use)