DLN Success Story – Hawaii Man ‘Forever Grateful’ for Work of DDS Volunteer

DDS Volunteer Dr. Gina Viernes and John

John, 56, lives alone in Honolulu. In 2014 he survived an aortic aneurysm and shortly thereafter underwent heart bypass surgery. John also suffers from hypertension, mental health issues and chronic back and shoulder pain from a work injury.

In addition, John’s oral health was in poor condition. All of his teeth were removed in 2014 to prepare for his surgery, but he has been unable to afford dentures. He often found it painful to eat and without teeth found it difficult to maintain a healthy diet.

Before his aneurysm, John worked in plumbing, although he has not been able to return to work since his surgery. He receives a small Social Security Disability benefit and is on Medicaid, which does not include dental benefits for adults. John just barely makes ends meet and could not afford the necessary dental treatment. It seemed he had nowhere to turn for help.

How DDS Helped

Fortunately, John was referred to the Donated Dental Services (DDS) program and he was linked with a very generous volunteer. Dr. Gina Viernes donated full dentures and her in-house lab fabricated the dentures at no cost.

“This has changed my life. I cannot express the gratitude I feel for being chosen to be treated by Dr. Viernes and the assistance of Margaret Petrick. I’m forever grateful.” John, DDS Patient

“John was the most grateful, kindhearted DDS patient. Giving back someone’s smile and confidence is very rewarding and a simple smile is the best thank you.” —Dr. Gina Viernes, DDS Volunteer

Hawaii Donated Dental Services (DDS) is a program of Dental Lifeline Network, a national humanitarian organization and affiliate of the ADA, providing access to comprehensive dental care for people with disabilities or who are elderly or medically fragile and have no other way to get help. Over 500 patients in Pennsylvania have received treatment from over 120 volunteers.

Learn more about volunteering or to learn about DDS in your state, visit our state pages.