Today’s Lifeline in Action comes all the way from Alaska!
Dr. Heather A. Willis has been practicing dentistry for nearly 20 years now, and in that time she has established herself as an esteemed and compassionate doctor who cares deeply about helping her community. She continuously goes above and beyond in her field to help people in need. One of the ways she does this is through Donated Dental Services (DDS), where she volunteers her time and talents to helping low-income individuals with special needs, like Peggy.
Peggy is 73 years old, and a few years ago, she suffered a traumatic brain injury that now impacts her speech. Additionally, she had a mild back injury that limits her quality of life, and her oral health was in need of attention. Her limited income prevented her from affording the dental treatment she needed. Fortunately, Peggy was referred to DDS, where she was matched with Dr. Willis.
She discovered that Peggy had two full dentures, but that the lower one did not fit properly. As a result, Peggy often found it painful to eat and difficult to maintain a healthy diet. But with the help of Oral Surgeon Dr. Clay Van Leeuwan and Nobel Biocare Lab, Dr. Willis was able to restore Peggy’s oral health and get her back to eating pain-free!
In addition to Dr. Willis’s participation as a DDS volunteer, she also serves as the Chair of our Dental Lifeline Network • Alaska Leadership Council. She is a member of the American Dental Association, the Alaska Dental Society, and the North Central District Dental Society. Her dedication to removing barriers to dental care are helping change and save the lives of so many people, and we’re so grateful to have her in our program!
“Overall, the staff are thrilled and excited every time we have a new DDS patient. We’ve had such a rewarding experience with the DDS patients that the staff are almost begging me to do more. We get to meet some very interesting patients who, for the most part, understand and appreciate the value of the dentistry we’re providing them.”
– Dr. Heather A. Willis, DLN • AK Leadership Council Chair and DDS Volunteer Dentist
To learn more about volunteering, or to learn about DDS in your state, visit our state pages.