Lifeline in Action: Oral Surgeon Dr. Stephen Zeller Restores Senior’s Smile

A dedicated oral surgeon, Dr. Stephen Zeller has spent his entire career contributing to the dental field and to his community. He splits his time between his private practice and working as a clinical assistant professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Additionally, he provides continuing education in his community, has published multiple scholarly articles, and has been heavily involved with various dental organizations throughout his career. And for nearly 25 years, Dr. Zeller has been changing and saving lives as a Donated Dental Services (DDS) volunteer and as President of the DLN • Kansas Board of Directors.

One patient of the 144 that Dr. Zeller has helped so far through DDS is Harold. He is 72, and he and his wife live off a small fixed income. Harold struggled with his dental health for over 10 years, missing all but four teeth, making it painful and difficult to eat.

Fortunately, Harold was referred to the DDS program where he matched with Dr. Zeller and two other generous volunteers. Dr. Zeller extracted Harold’s remaining teeth, and Dr. Michael Gardner fitted him for dentures, which were donated by Midwest Handcraft Dental Lab. Harold’s smile was restored, and he was incredibly grateful.

“I was miserable before. Now I’m much, much better. I think it prolonged my life. Thank you for all your help.” -Harold, DDS Patient

Volunteer oral surgeons like Dr. Zeller are incredibly important to the DDS program. He has donated nearly $300,000 in treatment to DDS, and changed and saved the lives of many patients like Harold. Dr. Zeller’s dedication to the community is evident not just in his participation with DDS, but in his other volunteer work with dental clinics and rescue missions as well. He sees the importance of giving back, and he likes to show his staff what an impact the work they do can have.

“My staff and I always enjoy treating DDS patients. It is life-changing for them. Harold proved that with his big smile.” – Dr. Stephen Zeller, DDS volunteer and DLN • KS Board President