FLORENCE—For the second consecutive year, Sue Keller, owner of the Strong & Healthy Smiles dental practice, is offering free dental services in 2017 to five area residents nominated through a “Sharing Smiles” program she imagined last year as a community give-back.
In 2016, Keller, a dentist for over two decades, provided care at no cost to five area residents who were nominated by friends or family and chosen from nine potential candidates. She plans to offer the program again to five new nominees who wish to improve their dental health but may be limited by difficult financial circumstances.
Through Dec. 19, Strong & Healthy Smiles will accept nominations, and Keller said she hopes the effort will help to support dental wellness in the Pioneer Valley.
“Dental care is an incredibly important part of whole body wellness, and if left untreated, dental problems can lead to more serious consequences,” Keller said, adding, “This year, we have made special efforts to strengthen our bonds with our community and to reach out to those who have not been able to access our quality of care.”
There are no financial limitations placed on the level of services Dr. Keller will provide for each nominee, but laboratory fees for expenses such as dentures must be covered by each patient, she said.
As part of the “Sharing Smiles” program, Keller and her team will also coach the five candidates to improve their home care, as well as offer preventive maintenance and additional professional treatment.
“Preventing damage is the best way to take care of your smile. The next best thing is to correct a problem as soon as it occurs. When problems go unaddressed, the difficulty and the cost of treatment increase,” she said. “Once we help get their teeth and gums in good health, they can better maintain that health, and experience more comfort, predictability and joy in their smiles.”
Keller explained that her staff—which she has dubbed the “Smile Team”—has a special interest in taking care of adults with dental anxieties. The team prides itself on a friendly approach to patient care and comfort, and a strong preventive care program for treatment of cavities and gum disease.
Advanced preventive techniques include testing the saliva of high cavity risk patients and looking for issues with diet, health and homecare that might contribute to dental health problems. Other key pieces in preventive care are addressing bite issues, before teeth are cracked as a result, or gum issues, before they weaken the bone or spread infection to the body.
Strong & Healthy Smiles also seeks area businesses who may wish to “Sponsor a Smile,” in order to expand this free service to more deserving individuals.
To nominate someone for the “Sharing Smiles” program, email a one-page letter explaining why the person you are nominating deserves a year of free dental care to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, call 413-586-9363.