COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) — Smiles for America, a new program created by members of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentists, chose 50 dentists and 50 veterans, one from each state. Dentists are associated with dental labs across the country who donate their time and talent to provide a veteran with free dental care.
In Colombia, Dr. Thomas Trinkner, DDS, was paired with Russell Smith, a 20-year Navy veteran who served in Iraq.
“It was our goal to go out and find someone we could help and fix their smile,” Trinkner said.
Smith needed a smile makeover due to years of disparate dentistry to get him through the rollout.
Now he has a million dollar smile without paying a dime.
“It’s exciting to see the change because I haven’t had a real smile in my entire life, pretty much,” Smith said.
Trinkner was tapped to provide cosmetic treatment, and for Smith, the entire treatment plan would have cost over $20,000.
Smiles for America began honoring veterans and service members across the country as we approach the 20th anniversary of 9/11, 2001. The cost of dental care is a promise that Smith will continue to share his life and heart with others as it has for so long. many years.
“That’s what we’re here for,” Smith said. “The world has enough bad things going on, that if we take it upon ourselves to do better today than yesterday, it will make the world a better place.”
Trinkner and Smith met just a week ago, and Tuesday Smith’s new smile has been revealed.
“Today was the big wow day,” Trinkner said. “That’s what I love about dentistry. It changes someone’s life forever, really.
Now Smith is learning to show off her new smile.
“I had different flaws in my mouth and in my teeth that I didn’t really want to show, so you kind of modify your smile around what you don’t want people to see,” Smith said.
And he looks forward to completing his treatment plan in the coming months.
“I’m only the first day to finish and I’m stunned right now,” Smith said.
Service members from all 50 states have begun the treatment process, and the Smiles for America program will unveil their new smiles on Saturday.
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