From left, Reston Smile Partners Members Sumit Sharma, Luis Martinez, Charles Fields, Frederick Dibbs, Joan Wise of Reston Interfaith and Joseph Richardson at a fundraiser at The Old Brogue Tuesday, May 1.
Photo by Alex McVeigh.
Great Falls The Old Brogue hosted a fundraiser Tuesday, May 1 for Reston Smile Partners, which operates in partnership with Reston Interfaith to provide pro bono dental care for their clients.
Reston Smile Partners is a network of 13 dental professionals who assist with general dentistry, five specialists and a lab, Reston-based Protech. Since its inception in March 2011 they have served 45 different individuals, most requiring multiple visits.
"Ever since we attended Best of Reston a few years ago, I’ve taken on a few pro bono cases for Reston Interfaith and Cindy asked me ‘Why don’t you see if some of your colleagues will join in?’" Frederick Dibbs said. "I was reluctant at first to ask them to get involved, but everybody I approached was open and willing, and they’ve been unbelievably cooperative ever since."
One of the first dentists he approached was Dr. Sumit Sharma, who does general dentistry work.
"Everyone I’ve worked with has been so thankful, and they’re always flexible. I see them before the start of my regular day, about one patient a month," Sharma said. "One patient had to come in for seven visits, for a total of eight extractions and two root canals."
Joan Wise of Reston Interfaith has served as liaison for the program since the beginning.
"We simply could not provide these services without the time and talents of these individuals and groups," she said. "They’re helping people get healthy and get back into the workforce, and it’s amazing to watch how informative it’s been for clients."
Wise recalled one client who always seemed to be in a foul mood, until she had a few extractions that eased the tooth pain she had felt for years.
"All of a sudden she became the sweetest, gentlest person," Wise said. "There was another woman who was missing her two front teeth, and she never smiled, she had no self-confidence. Now she’s confident and always smiling, it has truly been miraculous."
The funds raised at the May 1 event were to supplement the donated lab costs from Protech, who handle two cases per month pro bono.
"We can’t expect the lab to do everything for free, or the dentists to pay the lab fee in addition to their donated time," Frederick Dibbs said. "These funds will help us cover more lab costs for more clients."
Reston Interfaith handles the initial screening of clients, and if they meet the criteria they are examined by a dentist, who can perform cleaning, in-office procedures, send work to a lab and send to a specialist if needed.
More information about Reston Smile Partners and other services can be found at www.restoninterfaith.org.