After a successful Day of Giving pilot in Tualatin, Oregon, last spring, a team of 33 affiliated providers and employees from offices in Tennessee, gathered at two Nashville Castle Dental offices to give people in need a reason to smile. The one-day event in mid-August not only lifted up some people without access to dental care, it gave the volunteers a renewed sense of purpose.

The local leadership team organized their Day of Giving with the help of the Smiles for Everyone Foundation Manager Crystal Strait. All patients were pre-screened for need and given their own appointments. Some people had simple exams, x-rays, and cleanings, while others had more extensive treatment, including extractions, restorations and root canal therapy.

Dentists and hygienists, with help from dental assistants and support from non-clinical team members, provided free dental care for people in need who had been referred by local social services organizations.

Volunteer dentists included:  Dr. Christian Bennerman, Oral Surgeon; Dr. Claudette Carrion, Lead Dentist, Murfreesboro; Dr. Tim Mathis, Lead Dentist, Franklin, and PC President/DCC, Tenn.; Dr. William Owens, Lead Dentist, Tullahoma; and Dr. Cheryl Snyder, Lead Dentist, Nashville-Nolensville Rd., and DCC. (Scroll down to see a complete list of volunteers.)

Abundant Gratitude

“I am so excited to be able to enjoy eating again. I have been in extreme pain for years. I can’t thank you enough for giving me this opportunity,” said patient Steven LaBonne.

Patient Debbie Wulforst said, “I am eternally grateful for the care I received today. It’s going to change my life.”

Patient Penny Henson said, “I’m impressed that you have so many people willing to volunteer their time.”

Positive Provider Experiences

The staff noted that some patients touched the dentists’ hearts so deeply that the doctors will be providing them additional treatment, such as root canals and crowns, in the near future.

“It was a pleasure to provide dental services to the local community,” said Dr. Mathis. “I’m proud to know we made a difference for so many people that day and I look forward to hosting another Day of Giving in the future.”

Said Dr. Carrion, “It was great to see the staff from different centers come together and work as a team. It reminds me of my favorite quote: ‘Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.’”

“At my alma mater, Meharry [Medical College, Nashville], our motto is ‘to serve the underserved,” reflects Dr. Bennerman. “I truly believe that improving the lives of our fellow human beings is not monetary, but mandatory. I look forward to the next event.”