By Kathy L. Collins

In December, Dr. Christopher Nowacki and his team from SmileWright Dentistry, located at 1202 Millennium Pkwy. in Brandon, partnered with The Outreach Clinic (formerly known as the Brandon Outreach Clinic) to provide free dental services to 42 patients of the clinic. The services included cleanings, fillings and extractions.

Dr. Nowacki partnered with Megan Thomas, DMD of Riverview Smiles Dental, Storm Briggs, DDS and Leslie Nevarez, DMD of Pavillion Crossing Dental Care in Riverview and several other volunteer dental hygienists and dental assistants to provide the services to residents, many of whom have gone years without dental services.

Deborah Meegan, executive director of The Outreach Clinic said, “I think most of us take oral health for granted. I was stunned to see so many people who were absolutely thrilled about the opportunity to have a tooth or teeth pulled. People started lining up early in the morning and waited in the rain to insure their chances of receiving much needed dental care. They were so excited to finally obtain dental services and were very grateful to SmileWright Dentistry for such a wonderful gift.”

Kim Gibbons, practice administrator for SmileWright Dentistry said, “Dr. Nowacki has been in the community for eight years and wanted to be able to give back. Partnering with The Outreach Clinic was an event that will be done in the future as many people were able to receive dental care.”

The patients at The Outreach Clinic lack the funds to pay for basic health care, so oral care is never an option.

According to Meegan, “Untreated oral health issues in adults can affect their appetite and the ability to eat which often leads to nutrition problems. In addition, poor oral health can cause chronic pain that can affect daily activities such as speech, sleep and the ability to work. Moreover, untreated oral health conditions can lead to conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung disease, and stroke.”

The Outreach Clinic is supported by local grants and community donations. For more information on the clinic, visit www.theoutreachclinic.com. For more information on SmileWright Dentistry, visit www.smilewright.com.