Dr. Don Safferstein is a dedicated and compassionate dentist who has been serving the Bronx community for many years. A member of the Bronx County Dental Society and longtime MLMIC Dental policyholder, Dr. Safferstein is well known for his commitment to giving back to the community. His volunteer work with the Dental Lifeline Network is a testament to his passion for volunteerism.

Dental Lifeline Network is a national organization that provides free dental care to people with disabilities, who are elderly or medically compromised individuals and have financial challenges. Dr. Safferstein has been providing donated dental services through the Dental Lifeline Network for more than 20 years, offering his time and expertise to help those in need.

“I’m a strong advocate of volunteerism in dentistry,” says Dr. Safferstein. “I feel strongly that we have this unique ability to not just relieve pain but to transform lives, whether it be through creating a smile, helping someone who was ill have the ability to get proper nutrition by improving their overall oral health, or giving people self-confidence by taking away embarrassment about their appearance.”

Good oral health is crucial for overall health and wellbeing, and it is particularly important for people with disabilities or elderly individuals who may have trouble accessing regular dental care. Dr. Safferstein sees two or three cases a year through the Dental Lifeline Network. Applicants for care go through a local coordinator, who screens the applicants and connects the patients with Dr. Safferstein and any other specialized services they may need, like oral surgeons or dental labs.

“Basically, I provide the labor, but it costs me nothing,” says Dr. Safferstein. “I provide the time, maybe four to 10 hours of chair time. It’s been incredibly rewarding to my staff.”

Some of the patients Dr. Safferstein sees through the program don’t qualify for federal financial assistance but can’t afford the treatment they need. Dr. Safferstein also sees a lot of veterans, who receive health care benefits for just 18 months after being discharged. In other instances, the patient has cancer, is on chemotherapy and has untreated oral infections that need dental attention.

Through Dental Lifeline Network, Dr. Safferstein helps to ensure that those who would otherwise go without dental care are able to receive the care they need.

“These are the most appreciative patients we have, and many of them stay in the practice after [addressing acute needs],” says Dr. Safferstein. “We tell them to come see us again and we’ll take care of you at a reduced rate, but we try to keep these people involved in the practice.”

Dr. Safferstein was born and raised in the Bronx and has been practicing there for nearly 40 years. He recently served as the president of the Bronx County Dental Society, and currently serves as the organization’s treasurer and newsletter editor.

Over the course of his many years in practice, Dr. Safferstein has seen the importance of dental malpractice insurance — and particularly, the value of turning to MLMIC for insight and help whenever he is unsure about the best action to take. This is a crucial protection for dentists, as it helps to ensure that they can continue to provide quality care to their patients without worrying about the financial implications of a lawsuit.

“It’s a peace of mind,” says Dr. Safferstein. “You don’t want to spend your time dealing with lawyers and unhappy patients, and MLMIC helps. The risk management courses and easy availability of professionals that talk me through challenges basically keeps me out of litigious situations.”

Dr. Don Safferstein is a dedicated, compassionate and humble dentist who is committed to giving back to the community. He is a shining example of the best of what the dental profession has to offer, and his commitment to his patients and his community is truly inspiring.

“In no way do I feel what I do is anything unusual or heroic,” says Dr. Safferstein. “It’s something that thousands of dentists do across the country. What I love about this program is just how easy [it is to participate]. I’ve kind of become a mouthpiece for Dental Lifeline Network because I think they’re an awesome company.”

To learn about volunteering for the Dental Lifeline Network, visit the website. To read other stories and tips for New York dentists, visit the MLMIC Dental blog.