Hall County’s dentists are helping lower-income patients smile a little more.
This spring, members of the Hall County Dental Society will offer free teeth-whitening to anyone who makes a $250 donation to the Green Warren Dental Clinic at Good News Clinics.
This is the third year dentists are participating in the Brighter Smiles for Brighter Futures fundraiser.
“I enjoy seeing the personality change when people feel better about themselves,” said Tom Field, a Gainesville orthodontist who organizes the event each year. “You always hear stories about how smiles get people elected or open the doors for opportunity. It gives people a first impression to find out who you are.”
Field hopes to recruit more dentists and raise more money than ever before. The last two years pulled in a total of $70,000.
“We want to keep it going. Hall County is a community, and here’s something dentists and the people can do together to help others out,” he said. “Here’s something you can do in addition to brightening your own smile.”
Field recalls several memories from his visits at the Green Warren Clinic, which is run by volunteer dentists to treat those who are uninsured and can’t afford dental care.
“Good News tries to help people so they’re not in pain,” he said. “We need to get people back to work and do what they need to do to live.”
Field pointed to Gov. Nathan Deal’s Day of Service in January as an example. People lined the clinic’s halls to receive service.
“I remember a mother and a child who had serious dental problems, and the child was handling it more than the mother was,” he said. “It was nice to see the two of them together, getting the care they needed.”
Local dentists often talk about the need for improved access to care, Field said
“People used to expect to lose their teeth during their lifetime, but you don’t see that anymore,” he said. “We’re moving from being afraid of the dentist to seeing dental health as part of your overall health.”
Field hopes there will be interest in the fundraiser because people often consider teeth-whitening a luxury.
“People spend money on makeup and clothes, and this is another part of that,” Field said. “I’ve seen wives donate to get their husbands to come in, and grandparents have given donations for their grandkids.”
A number of dentists have already agreed to participate in the program, and Field is asking dental specialists who don’t perform whitening appointments to donate money for bleaching kits.
“I’m hoping that every dentist in town will be willing to do this,” Field said. “I would encourage people to ask their dentist if they’d be willing to do it. We want the patients to be aware.”