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'Smile, It's Free:' Dentistry For Homeless, Uninsured

Dentists, their staffs and volunteers serve the underserved in Walnut Creek and Concord.

Decked in blue T-shirts that read, "Smile, It's Free," a group of central Contra Costa dental professionals and community organization volunteers performed fillings, cleanings and extractions for more than 100 homeless and uninsured people Saturday.

The effort was called Dentistry From Our Heart.

"Our mission is to serve the underserved," said Dr. Stephen Eriksen of Walnut Creek, whose Ygnacio Valley Road office provided some of the 15 chairs in use for the philanthropic effort in Walnut Creek and Concord. "Our vision is to grow this a lot more."

The group of dentists included two oral surgeons and a periodontal surgeon to diversify the diagnoses and services provided, Eriksen said.

About 75 volunteers — including the Kiwanis Club of Walnut Creek, the Key Club at Northgate High and Young Life from Mount Diablo High — helped organize the event. Noah's Bagels and Peet's Coffee provided refreshments.

Among the dentists whose office staff participated: Ali Alijanian, Adriano Bottene, John Bruns, Ty and Susan Caldwell, Andrew Marshall, Lynne Martz-Marshall, Yukio Nakamura, Bridget Powers, Michael Rebbotaro, Steven Shuff, Robert Stirm and Benjamin Tsaur.

Marie Krausova November 07, 2011 at 05:15 PM
Thanks to all people who are helping homeless and uninsured poor. It is amazing to have people with such great HEARTS. I feel sad seeing so many people who need a dental work. It is getting worse lately. It would be NICE if our LOCAL BANKS would sponsor such en event. ASK them!!?? I am sick, lately, but I wish to help someway when I get better. (I am retired nurse).
Corinne Speckert November 07, 2011 at 10:03 PM
What a generous and needed service to provide. Gilroy has over 400 homeless people. There's a local homeless shelter, The Gilroy Compassion Center, that holds events to provide needed services, but it would be amazing to have something like this. Thanks for reporting on this!!
Triple Canopy November 07, 2011 at 11:10 PM
The fundamental purpose of businesses, including banks, is to make profit. Profit is capital that can be used for investment and future growth. That means expansion, development and additional jobs. They don't exist to be altruistic. If you want to make a difference, volunteer at a local residental care facility, retirement home, or even John Muir Medical Center.
Matt Eriksen November 09, 2011 at 12:47 AM
There was absolutely no profit from this event,and I had the pleasure of being apart of this great movement for the third time in one year. In one DAY, we served 123 people and gave away over $70,000 in dental services. That's far more than the American Dental Society gives in a YEAR! So, for those of you that can only see the financial drawbacks of such an event (Triple Canopy), be ashamed. This event was for the good of humanity and served to help those in need. ANYONE can receive these services and ANYONE can help. I encourage you to come out to our next event and have your mind changed. If you choose to go, you will see that everything I have stated is completely true. We make NO profit. The only payment we ask for is a smile and gratitude, which is paid without hesitation.

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