After seeing a great need for better and more thorough benefits and care for returned servicemen and women, Dr. Karin Irani, a practicing dentist in Los Angeles and recipient of Ultradent's Icon of Dentistry Award for her work with veterans, co-founded Veterans Smile Day in 2012 with Dr. Deryk Pham, a former U.S. Navy dentist.
“It’s physically taxing work because it’s sort of a marathon to get as much done as you can with the time you have. But I always say, it’s the most emotionally fulfilling work I’ve ever done,” says Dr. Kevin E. Miller of his recent five-day humanitarian trip to the Dominic Republic to perform charity dental work through the Crown Council.
You realize ultimately, when you break down the walls of homelessness, you see that there’s a human being in the chair that has the same emotions, the same feelings, the same wishes and hopes and desires as everyone else. They’re human beings. They’re just like everyone else. They’ve just had a really rough go—whether it’s something they’ve brought on themselves or something that was handed to them. As you work here, you stop judging people…
After one of their most recent trips, Erin said she noticed that many of the children had black, decaying teeth at the ages of only four and five years old. Kindredhouse launched a massive dental hygiene and education effort where they not only conducted tooth brushing and dental hygiene classes.
Dr. Streiff hopes they continue to returrn and create a new generation of adults with healthy oral care habits that will then pass them on to their own children, breaking the cycle of bad oral health, decay, and loss of adult teeth that plague so many. And that’s what keeps him going back.
When you see the poverty for the first time, it can be very difficult. Some people have some emotional trouble with that,” Dr. Brown says. “But we always express to our patients that although we are providing them with dental care, our abilities are no more important than theirs.