Problems with your teeth are not only painful physically, but the rejection and judgment that can result from an embarrassing smile can cause emotional pain as well.
Harmony Health Clinic off of Roosevelt Road in Little Rock uses volunteer professionals to help change lives by changing smiles.
The dental and medical care is free to the patients, but the services still cost money.
A nearly $15,000 grant made Friday by Delta Dental of Arkansas will help provide dentures for three needy patients.
But with your help, Harmony Health Clinic wants to do much more.
"It's unbelievable how much of a factor it makes in somebody's life," says Matt Butler of Little Rock, who had damaged teeth pulled and dentures fitted over a period of about eight months.
The patients at Harmony Health Clinic all have different stories.
But there are similarities.
Many have neglected their teeth for years. Some were battling addictions, others lacked income or insurance. The restoration of their smiles is life-changing.
"It's given me a reason to live," says Butler. "I mean...I wanted to die so many times. It's really serious how much of a difference it makes in somebody's life."
"It's fun," says one of the volunteer dentists Dr. Bob Tramel with Little Rock Family Dental Clinic. "I love it. We have about twenty or thirty dentists that volunteer down here. It's all free. We don't charge anybody."
"We have people who come in here that their teeth are in terrible shape," says Eddie Pannell, Harmony Health Clinic's Executive Director. "Their oral health is terrible. We give them full or partial dentures. Their self-esteem goes through the roof when you put those dentures in their head. And we've had people that have gotten...who have been unemployed for a year or more and put in those new dentures and give them their smile back and they've gotten jobs within two weeks of getting those dentures back. It just changes lives. It improves health in every area."
Pannell says Harmony Health Clinic would like to restore the smile of 100 patients this year. If you would like to help make that happen or see more of those great before and after pictures we have posted links for you at www.katv.com.
Air date: August 23rd, 2013
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