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Dentists Offer Free Care

A handful of outlets from across the country report that local dental offices recently offered free care to patients who are otherwise unable to afford care. A majority of the dentists offered free care to children, though some also treated adults.

 

Focusing its report on several anecdotal examples of people who have benefited greatly from free dental care, the Vallejo (CA) Times Herald (7/6) reports that California dentist Dr. William Fey offers treatment to about 10 patients free of charge each year. The Times Herald points out that “the young people who are struggling with dental issues their families can’t afford to fix are nearly universally more appreciative than some other patients who take this kind of care for granted, he said.” Dr. Fey “said doing free work for those who need it is an outgrowth of the success he built from a nearly destitute beginning” growing up in Shanghai, China, where his family was “penniless.”

 

Roger Severson of Vallejo says his niece Carrington would never smile. In fact, the teenager was so self-conscious about her missing front teeth that if forced to open her mouth for any reason, she covered it with a hand.

 

After more than two years of free dental work supplied by Dr. William Fay and others, Carrington Matias, can barely contain her now-perfect smile, the two men said. Her dentistry was finally completed late last month.

 

Matias is one of some 10 pro bono cases Fay treats annually, he said.

 

“I donate about $70,000 of dental work per year to low-income kids from South San Francisco, Daly City, Vallejo, American Canyon and Napa,” Fay said. “It makes me feel good. I feel great doing it. It gives me more pleasure sometimes than some of my pain-in-the-ass paying patients. I mean, you see a case like Carrington’s and how could you not?”

 

The young people who are struggling with dental issues their families can’t afford to fix are nearly universally more appreciative than some other patients who take this kind of care for granted, he said.

 

Such was the case with Matias, whose two front teeth were impacted inside her nasal cavity in an unusual though not unheard-of condition that requires surgery to rectify, said Fay and Severson, with whom the girl has been living for several years.

 

She is visiting family in another state for the summer, said Severson, a retired Mare Island machinist. Matias’ case is not the most challenging Fay says he’s ever performed – just the most recent.

 

“I found out about a dental clinic at the Elsa Widenmann school in a Times-Herald article and called,” Severson said. The 2012 article reported on the Solano Coalition for Better Health clinic, to which Severson took his niece and which then referred her to Fay, the men said.

 

Fay, a China native and San Francisco resident has practices in South San Francisco and, for the last seven years, in American Canyon. He said doing free work for those who need it is an outgrowth of the success he built from a nearly destitute beginning.

 

“I grew up in Shanghai, China, and my family was penniless,” he said. “When we came to the U.S. in 1953, we lived in a one-bedroom apartment in Chinatown. My brother and I slept on the living room floor and my sister slept on the dining room floor. And I didn’t speak a word of English.”

 

Knowing, as he does, what poverty is like, “it warms my heart to help people,” including assisting his office staff in getting the certificates they need, he said. “People helped me in my life, and I want to do the same.”

 

His American high school English teacher told him not to bother with the class homework assignments and instead to watch television. Fay credits this with teaching him English in six months.

 

“My dad had an MBA in China, but couldn’t find a job. He had to drive a cab in San Francisco,” Fay said.

 

After deciding his future lay in dentistry, Fay graduated from University of California at Berkeley and then dental school in Michigan.

 

“This country has been so great to me and my family, so, to give back, I joined the United States Air Force as a general dentist,” he said. Then he studied the specialty of orthodontics and started a practice in San Francisco.

 

“A friend of mine had a dental practice in American Canyon and needed an orthodontist, so, we teamed up,” he said. “It’s been seven years, now.”

 

Fay said the best way for an underprivileged family to apply for needed dental work is through a referral from another dentist, as was the case with Matias.

 

“In her case, she required surgeries to bring down the blocked teeth and orthodontia to straighten all the teeth that had moved out of alignment because of the spaces,” Fay said. “I contacted Dr. (Jeffery) Graves in Vallejo and he agreed to do the oral surgery for free.”

 

Her new smile has made all the difference in Matias’ life, her uncle said with tears in his eyes.

 

“It’s life changing,” he said. “She beams now. She smiles at people; she’s more joyous, she has friends. I mean, when you don’t have no teeth, what do you do?”

 

The Spartanburg (SC) Herald-Journal (7/6) reports that on May 16 84 residents of Boiling Springs, South Carolina received free dental services from Dental Care of Boiling Springs as part of its Free Dentistry Day. “The doctors and team members provided over $24,000 worth of dentistry including cleanings and extractions to local people throughout the day,” the Spartanburg Herald-Journal reports.

 

84 Boiling Springs-area people received free dental services from Dental Care of Boiling Springs on Saturday, May 16th as part of Free Dentistry Day.

 

Dr. Yanina Cox, Dr. Jaspinder Bhattal and team provided free oral health care to the community as part of Free Dentistry Day, a program initiated to provide dental care to the growing number of Americans without dental insurance.

 

The doctors and team members provided over $24,000 worth of dentistry including cleanings and extractions to local people throughout the day.

 

“We are very pleased with the success of this event,” said Dr. Cox. “Unfortunately, many people do not see a dentist on a routine basis. We were honored to open our doors to those in our community and volunteer our time and resources to make sure they received the care they need and deserve.”

 

The team of Dental Care of Boiling Springs would like to thank their many volunteers, including Drs. Silas Crisp, Christen Bianchi, Bin Wellman, Jay Sibal, and Adam Cox, dental assistant students from Spartanburg Tech, family members and additional team members for joining Dental Care of Boiling Springs and volunteering their services to help throughout the day.

 

They would also like to thank their partners in the community: Chick-fil-A, Olive Garden, Fatz, Applebee’s and Pizza Hut.

 

WSFA-TV Montgomery, AL (7/7) reports that Dr. Mary Leigh Gillespie, Dr. Candice Johnson, Dr. Laura Mahan and Dr. Julie Rice, as well as oral surgeons Dr. Lee Morris and Dr. Jonathan Frederick treated more than 102 patients, providing more than $22,000 in free dentistry during a free day of dentistry. Dr. Gillespie “has been holding a free dental day for the last 10 years and encouraged” the other dentists to join her in the effort.

 

FLORENCE, AL (WAFF) – Dentists in the Shoals worked together to provide free dental care to those who need it most.

 

Dr. Mary Leigh Gillespie has been holding a free dental day for the last 10 years and encouraged other local dentists to join the July 2 event.

 

This year, the Celebrate Your Smile event brought in over 102 patients and had the doctors performing over $22,000 in dental work.

 

Four dentists, Dr. Gillespie, Dr. Candice Johnson, Dr. Laura Mahan and Dr. Julie Rice, along with oral surgeons Dr. Lee Morris and Dr. Jonathan Frederick, were able to see the large amount of patients that visited the free event.

 

The event was first come, first serve for those taking part, with some patients beginning to line up at 4 a.m. Patients were given the choice of one procedure: filling, extraction or cleaning.

 

“As usual, we are so enriched and blessed to give back to our community,” said Dr. Gillespie.

 

Dynamic Dentistry will be having another free dental day on November 13, 2015, calling it “Thanks Giving Back a Smile.”

 

The Charleston (WV) Daily Mail (7/7, Haight) reports that at Wilson Martino Dental “dozens of youngsters came through the doors for the office’s annual West Virginia Healthy Kids Drive Free Dental Day” recently. The office has offered the free services annual for about 10 years, and treated about 100 children on Monday. “Children received a full hygiene appointment with an exam, cleaning, X-ray and fluoride treatment” and “if a child needed an additional same-day service, such as a cavity filling, tooth extraction or crown, those services were provided free of charge,” the Charleston Daily Mail reports.

 

Smiles were the order of the day Monday at the Teays Valley office of Wilson Martino Dental.

 

There, dozens of youngsters came through the doors for the office’s annual West Virginia Healthy Kids Drive Free Dental Day. The program started about 10 years ago when owners Dr. Ken Wilson and Dr. Robert Martino recognized a need in their community for dental care and patient education.

 

“There were a lot of people without coverage. We wanted to fulfill that need but also in a way that would let us say thank you to the community,” said Wendy Boyce, the business’ marketing director.

 

Wilson Martino Dental has six locations across West Virginia, all of which hold a Free Dental Day for children 12 and under.

 

The Teays Valley location saw about 100 children Monday, and the total number of children who attend a Wilson Martino Dental Day in West Virginia will reach more than 1,000 by the end of summer.

 

Children received a full hygiene appointment with an exam, cleaning, X-ray and fluoride treatment. If a child needed an additional same-day service, such as a cavity filling, tooth extraction or crown, those services were provided free of charge.

 

Boyce said the Free Dental Day isn’t a “bait and switch” program where a cavity will be found now, but filled later for a price.

 

In addition to the Free Dental Day, Wilson Martino Dental also does “Happy Visits” for children under 5 where parents can bring their child for free to see if they’re ready for their first dental appointment.

 

The American Dental Association recommends that children go to the dentist as soon as their first tooth emerges; however, Boyce said children should go when they’re ready.

 

“We want them to be comfortable — we don’t want any fear,” Boyce said. “We don’t want them to associate coming here with something negative.”

 

Boyce said it’s important for both children and adults to go to the dentist every six months for preventative care.

 

“Overall, it’s better to catch something early,” Boyce said. “It’s like your car: If you never change the oil, your engine is going to blow up.”

 

She said the office stays true to its slogan: “We Cater to Cowards.”

 

“There are so many people who are afraid of the dentist,” Boyce said. “We do as much as we can to make everybody comfortable. Today with the kids, we have the dinosaur here, we have balloons, the team is ready, we have a kids’ room decorated with kids’ stuff.”

 

For the adults, Boyce said the office offers headphones, music and blankets for a comfortable experience.

 

Tanya Gilbert, of Hurricane, brought her three sons to the Free Dental Day after receiving a flier from their school.

 

“They’re about due for their checkups,” Gilbert said. “It’s free to get any cavities or anything filled. If that’s the case, our insurance doesn’t cover all that.”

 

Gilbert said Dr. Lon Spain was great with her children and said she would come back next year for the Free Dental Day.

 

“He’s got the same birth date as one of my kids,” she said. “He was really personable with them. He made jokes with them and got along with them.”

 

Her son Ayden, 9, had a small defect on one of his teeth that was discovered and fixed during his visit.

 

He was all smiles as he exited the chair and said his experience was pain-free.

 

On Sept. 10, Wilson Martino Dental will provide free dental appointments to veterans, active military members and their immediate family.

 

Wilson Martino Dental accepts patients of all ages. Boyce said anyone who is hesitant about coming to the dentist is welcome stop by and take a tour of their office free of charge.

 

 

Article Sources : http://www.timesheraldonline.com/general-news/20150706/american-canyon-dentist-offers-hope-to-young-low-income-residents,

http://www.goupstate.com/article/20150706/ARTICLES/150709862&tc=ix,

http://www.wsfa.com/story/29483590/dentists-in-the-shoals-providing-care-with-celebrate-your-smile,

http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150706/DM01/150709550/1276

 

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