Storm of Goodwill hits Evanston !!
Dental Access Days blew in to the Levy Senior Center and helped 100 people of need access $111,000 worth of dental care. Working together to make it possible were 16 dentists, 1 oral surgeon, 7 hygienists, 16 assistants, 2 physician assistants, 1 nurse, 4 patient intakers, 3 lab technicians (that made and repaired prosthetics), 2 haulers ( brought the clinic up from North Carolina), 5 meal shopper/stagers, and 7 setup and dismantlers. That’s a combined effort of 64 volunteers uniting to give back a lasting gift of improved oral health. We did 55 restorations, 52 extractions, 3 root canals, 37 cleanings, created or repaired 23 prosthetic, and distributed oral health education and maintenance materials throughout. And in addition to our volunteers was the terrific staff of the Levy Center that went above and beyond their call of duty every time we needed something.
This year Evonda Thomas, health director of the City of Evanston, worked with the Evanston based social agencies to help insure that the patients of greatest need were seen at the clinic.
New to the clinic this year was Vince Brandys, director of the Illinois Eye Institute.Vince staged vision screenings at the clinic and evaluated about 30 people.
A big news item of the two day clinic was the storm that stole our power around 3pm Friday afternoon. It completely shut us down and ended an otherwise banner day of productivity. We had a gentleman patient half way through a difficult extraction when the power failed. Other providers that had brought their battery operated headlamps gathered around the patient and provided the needed light to complete the procedure. How about that for putting your heads together to solve a problem!
Dental Access Days would not have taken place without the following organizations stepping up to provide for the clinics financial needs: The Chicago Dental Society and Dr. Paul Fischl ; Evanston Lighthouse Rotary and Dr. Brad Weiss; and 3 area churches, Northfield Community Church, Glenview Community Church, and Immanuel United Church of Christ. Our clinic facility is “loaned” to us by the Giving Hand Foundation of Yadkinville N.C. Not only do they supply the equipment and know-how, they also arrive with a full inventory of instruments and supplies needed to perform services. Steve Conner of Patterson Dental, a national distributor for dental equipment and supplies, loaned us their digital X-ray unit. It’s hard to describe the improvement in productivity that equipment gives the entire clinic operation. Aundrea Hoffman of Heraeus Kulzer, also a supplier of dental supplies, worked the clinic with us both days and brought a big selection of needed supplies. Mike Lawler of Komet Dental donated dental drill bits for us and worked in our lab helping build and repair prosthetics.
Every year volunteers hearts are touched by the outpouring of gratitude from our patients when they communicate how important this portal of access is to them. This year there were many such moments, but there was one story in particular we will relate here. A young lady came in that had lost a number of her top front teeth. She was engaged to be married the following weekend. Her financial circumstances left her no way to purchase a prosthetic but she desperately wanted to be able to smile at her wedding as she enjoyed her day and her guests. She came to see if there was anyway we could help her. We could, and we did. When they placed the partial into her mouth and she looked in the mirror for the first time…well you get the picture. The goodwill transmitted through everyone there like an electrical charge, touching everyone, volunteers and patients alike.
Please know there are many more messages of gratitude from those helped than can be communicated here. And it wasn’t just the dentistry that impressed them. It was also the example of people setting aside their normal pursuits and leisures for a few days to cooperate and make the benefit possible. In truth, it was an event that helped us all.