DLN Success Story – Former NFL Player Regains His Confidence

Dental Lifeline Network recently partnered with the NFL Alumni Association to keep alumni and their families healthy, productive, and connected to the league and their former teammates with help from the Donated Dental Services (DDS) program.

Through this partnership, volunteer dentists provide free dental treatment to players and their family members who meet the same criteria as other DDS patients—have a permanent disability, are over the age of 65, or are medically compromised and cannot otherwise afford treatment.

Dr. Holly Hamilton, DMD, a Florida DDS volunteer since 2008, had the opportunity to help Craig, a former NFL player. Craig played in the 1980s for the Buccaneers and Colts. After his NFL days, he worked odd jobs but has not been able to do so since 2013 due to numerous orthopedic issues. He had to have both hips replaced and used a cane to walk. His dental health had deteriorated and he had several decayed and missing teeth, which took a toll on his mood.

“Before—my kids always told me, ‘Dad, you’re always grumpy,’” said Craig.

Sadly, he was unable to afford the dental treatment he needed. He was approved for Social Security Disability benefits but didn’t receive any assistance that could help with his dental needs.

After being referred to Dental Lifeline Network’s DDS program by the NFL Alumni Association, Craig was matched with two volunteers that agreed to help.

Dr. Hamilton (a Steelers fan) restored two teeth, provided a full mouth cleaning, and with the help of NDX Florida, donated upper and lower partial dentures.

“Craig was a great patient, super humble and extremely grateful.” said Dr. Hamilton.

With the help of these volunteers, Craig had uplifted spirits after receiving his new set of teeth. “Now, I smile more – my kids see me and that’s all I do, I smile. When they first saw my new teeth, they couldn’t believe it!” said Craig. “What [Dental Lifeline Network] did with giving me my smile back, was giving me my life back.”

Since 1997, Florida DDS volunteer dentists and labs have provided over $8 million in treatment to over 1,800 people. DLN thanks the Florida Dental Association and the FDA Foundation for their long-time support of DDS program in the state of Florida.

Will you see one patient this year? Visit willyouseeone.org to learn more and register to volunteer.