Through Dental Lifeline Network’s Donated Dental Services (DDS) program, people in your community who are elderly, who have disabilities, or who are medically fragile receive comprehensive dentistry that they otherwise cannot afford. The volunteer dentists and their staff make an incredible difference to patients both in the office and outside – like in the case of Dora and the office of Dr. Ron Massie in Lake Ozark, Missouri.
Dora is a retired woman living in Eldon, Missouri who received generous care from Dr. Ron Massie and his staff. Her mouth was really healthy until eight years ago when her house burned down and Dora lost everything. Her oral health started declining due to the stress of her situation – she began to lose teeth and faced more and more dental pain. With no financial resources to address her dental issues, she felt like she had nowhere to go for help.
Fortunately, Dora was referred to Dental Lifeline Network by the Eldon Food Pantry and was matched with Dr. Massie, a volunteer dentist with the DDS program for the past 13 years. Dr. Massie was able to fit a partial upper and partial lower denture, as well as place a number of crowns donated by Edmonds Dental Prosthetics in Springfield, Missouri.
The kindness and generosity of Dr. Massie’s office did not stop there. When finishing up treatment, Eldon – Dora’s hometown – was hit by a tornado. Concerned for Dora’s safety, the office tried to call her and her family members and they were not able to reach any of them. They needed to know Dora was okay.
“We have a lot of great volunteer dentists and it never ceases to amaze me how some of them get attached to [the well being of] our patients,” said Mary Jo Henke, Missouri DDS coordinator.
One of Dr. Massie’s staff members lives in Eldon, so she tried to get to Dora’s house, however the streets were blocked with downed trees. They were worried she had suffered the same catastrophic loss again. Finally, the staff member arrived and was able to reach Dora. She expressed her gratitude for the staff going above and beyond.
“That’s the kind of staff [Dr. Massie] has! Wow- just wow! I’m forever thankful,” said Dora.
Although part of her house was damaged by a fallen tree, Dora and her neighbors were safe. With her completed treatment and the love and care from Dr. Massie’s staff, Dora could smile again.
“It has been sad seeing all the damage and hearing about all the loss people have suffered last month,” said Henke. “At the same time it has been great to hear stories like this and see the love and compassion we have for one another.”
Each of the 373 DDS dentists in Missouri are important to the DDS program and DLN. This year, DLN recognized three Missouri volunteers for their long time commitment and generosity to the DDS Program: Dr. Bryan Foote (General Dentist), Dr. Ronald Taylor (Specialist) and the Southeast Missouri Dental Lab.
Since 1999, Missouri volunteer dentists and labs have contributed over $9.2 million in treatment to over 2,038 people with special needs. DLN • Missouri thanks the Missouri Dental Association for its long-time support of DDS.