In The Community
Give Back a Smile
The Give Back a Smile (GBAS) program was started in 1999 by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry Charitable Foundation to assist in rebuilding the smiles and lives of adults who’ve suffered dental injuries as the result of domestic violence. Caring and compassionate dental professionals have donated their time and services to restore the damaged smiles of over 1,000 victims of domestic violence. Dr. Wyant is actively involved with the GBAS program restoring the smiles and confidence to several victims as well as serving on the Board of Trustees of the AACD charitable foundation for many years.
Unemployed and too embarrassed to venture outside of her East Texas home, Karen dreamed of someday getting her smile and life back. She finally ended an abusive relationship of many years which had resulted in the loss of her upper front teeth. She felt her life was slipping away and depression had taken its toll. Karen was hopeful when she learned about the GBAS program through a local social worker. She nervously applied for the program and prayed to finally get some help integrating back into society. She became overwhelmed with emotion when she learned the Dr. Lee Wyant in Little Rock had agreed to help her. Karen’s first visit to Dr. Wyant’s office started with a long bus ride to Little Rock. She felt reluctant at first to tell her story but Dr. Wyant and his staff made her feel so welcome that she was able to share what she had been through. She was so grateful that someone was willing to help her. Her goal was to get her smile and self-confidence back so she could get back into the community and work again. She had completed an on-line training and had become a certified transcriptionist but was too embarrassed to go for a job interview. It took several trips to Little Rock but Karen finally got her new smile. Getting her smile back has transformed her live by boosting her self-confidence which led to getting out of the house again meeting new people and re-connecting with old friends. Karen now is gainfully employed and living a more abundant life thanks to Dr. Wyant and the GBAS program.
The Harmony Health Clinic
Dr. Wyant regularly volunteers at the Harmony Health Clinic located on Roosevelt Road in Little Rock. The clinic provides free medical and dental services to the homeless and the financially disadvantaged. Though the dental and medical care is free to patients, the clinic depends on donations, fund raisers and grants to operate the clinic. All dental and medical professionals provide their services for free.
Problems with your teeth are not only painful physically, but rejection and judgement resulting from an embarrassing smile can cause emotional pain as well. The caring dental professionals who volunteer at the clinic change lives by changing smiles.
“It’s unbelievable how much a factor it makes in someone’s life” says Matt Butler of Little Rock, who had damaged teeth removed and new dentures fitted over an eight month period.
Many patients at the clinic have neglected their teeth for years. Some battling addictions, others lacked income or dental insurance for even the most basic dental care.
“It gives me a reason to live” says Butler. “I mean…. I wanted to die so many times. It’s really serious how much a difference it makes in someone’s life.”
“I love volunteering at the Harmony Clinic” says Dr. Lee Wyant of SmileArkansas. “There’s such a need in the community for the services we provide and patients are always so grateful and appreciative for the care we provide.”
“We have people who come here with their teeth in terrible shape.” Says Eddie Parnell, Harmony Health Clinic’s Executive Director. “Their oral health is really poor and many times we remove the bad teeth and give them full or partial dentures. Their self-esteem goes through the roof when we deliver their new dentures. And we’ve had people who’ve been unemployed for years and when they’ve gotten their smile back have gotten jobs within two weeks. It just changes lives and improves their health in so many ways.”
Race for the Cure
Every year we assemble a team to walk in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. It’s the largest event of its kind in the state of Arkansas with over 40,000 participants each year. Our team consists of staff, patients and Pageant winners from Miss Arkansas International. We have a lot of fun and are happy to join the community in supporting this worthy cause.