DLN Success Story- South Carolina Man Can Eat and Smile Again Without Pain

Dr. Gardner and Ernest

Ernest, 72, is a dedicated family man and lives in Charleston with his wife. Unfortunately Ernest suffers from multiple health challenges. He developed heart disease more than 10 years ago and has a pacemaker. Four years ago, he had open heart surgery to have an artificial heart valve placed. Recently, Ernest was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and is currently in remission.

In addition, Ernest’s oral health was in poor condition. He had no upper teeth and only seven on the bottom. With hardly any teeth to chew, Ernest found it difficult and sometimes painful to eat.

Ernest and his wife survive on small Social Security benefits and struggle to make ends meet. They could not afford the dental treatment he needed. It seemed they had nowhere to turn for help.

How DDS Helped

Fortunately, Ernest was referred to the Donated Dental Services (DDS) program and he was linked with three generous volunteers:

• Dr. Jeff Gardner donated a full upper denture and a lower cast metal partial denture.

• Oral Surgeon Dr. Matthew Barefoot performed an alveoplasty.

• Classic Craft Dental Laboratory fabricated both dentures at no cost.

“It’s a wonderful feeling to have teeth again! I thank you for all of your help and care. Without Dr. Gardner and his staff, I don’t know where I would be. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.” —Ernest, DDS Patient

“Ernest is a great man. I enjoyed treating him and listening to the stories of when Mt. Pleasant was mostly farmland. He was very appreciative. Everyone in the office loves Ernest!” —Dr. Jeff Gardner, DLN • SC Leadership Council Chair and DDS Volunteer

South Carolina 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 400 patients in South Carolina have received treatment from close to 200 volunteers.

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