SPROUTING NEW SMILES
Anne Reid stands on the gravel enjoying the coolness and quietness of a morning that will soon become her busiest days of week. While this general dentist can usually be found at her Mills 50 practice, today she’s in Bithlo where a slew of volunteers and a state-of-the-art mobile dental unit arrive once a month to deliver free dental services to area residents.
Sprouting New Smiles: Bithlo Dental Program
“On a regular day we do cleanings, extractions and fillings for about 15-20 patients who sign up in advance through AdventHealth,” says Anne, who schedules more severe cases at her office or with oral surgeons who have partnered with the Bithlo Dental Program.
Since the Bithlo Dental Program began, more than 200 volunteer dentists, hygienists and assistants have helped over 900 people have healthier smiles.
Now in its third year, the program works alongside the Dental Care Access Foundation to provide free dental care to under and uninsured individuals of Central Florida. Since its inception, the program has leveraged over $700,000 in free dental services delivered by more than 200 volunteer dentists, hygienists and assistants. As a result, more than 900 people now have a healthier smile.
Chuck Sheppard is one of those people. He scheduled his daughter for a visit one Sunday and when an appointment opened up, he unexpectedly found himself in the dental chair. After an exam and a series of x-rays, Chuck discovered he had a lot more decay than he thought. “They pulled a few teeth and then set me up with partials,” he says. “Everyone was so courteous. This program has made a big impact.”
Don Ricigliano agrees. The former teacher had his two front knocked out during a home invasion a few years ago and just hasn’t felt the same since. “I was always proud of my teeth and had braces when I was younger,” he says. “But I hadn’t been to a dentist in years because I am wheelchair bound. I felt hopeless. But now that they’re replaced I am myself again. I’m just so grateful.”
For more information call Call407-473-2812.