FORT PIERCE - Dr. John D. Karpinski, a Fort Pierce oral and maxillofacial surgeon, sees his practice as service to the community.

“One of my favorite prayers is the prayer of St. Francis - it is in giving that we receive,” Dr. Karpinski told Hometown News. “When I give, I get it back many times over. Some call it Karma, but in my mind anything I give comes back to me many times in many ways. I’ve been blessed and I’m trying to pass some of that on to those that need it.”

Dr. Karpinski spends some days working with Light of the World Charities in Stuart. “We provide dental services to those who have nowhere else to go.” Dr. Karpinski has also traveled with the charity to Honduras and El Salvador.

“The last three years, we’ve gone to the Dominican Republic,” Dr. Karpinski said. “We spend a week there and do what we can. In April I’ll be going back. I’ve gone on these trips eight or nine times. It used to be mostly to Central America, but things got too dangerous, so now we go to the Dominican Republic.”

During those trips, Dr. Karpinski provides whatever dental care he can, helping however he can. “Most of the people we see there have never seen a dentist.”

This commitment to helping the less fortunate through dentistry is something the doctor learned from his father, Dr. Joseph F. Karpinski, Sr., 96, an oral surgeon whose studies were interrupted by the call to serve in the Army infantry during World War II.

Dr. Karpinski, Sr. later served in the motorized-dental unit covering Coast Guard bases. During the Korean War, he was transferred to Alaska, where he treated Coast Guard personnel, Eskimos, and other Alaskans.

From this background, the younger Dr. Karpinski decided that his focus would be helping the needy. Dentistry was the natural choice.

“I grew up in upstate New York with my parents, two brothers, and three sisters. Dentistry was a way of life for us. It is in my blood. My mom was a nurse and my dad was an oral surgeon. My Uncle Art who lived across the street was a periodontist. Healthcare, especially dentistry, is what I grew up with and became utterly intrigued with as a profession. There is no other line of work that I would rather do.”

Dr. Karpinski tries to keep his values first and foremost in his practice every day.

“In my mind I’m a blue collar oral surgeon. A lot of people can’t afford very expensive work. I try to make it so patients don’t have to take out a second mortgage to pay for dental care. If people are in pain, I want to help them get out of pain.”

Dr. Karpinski graduated from Indiana University Dental School, where his father, uncle, and younger brother also graduated. He completed five years of residency at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, and then joined his father in private practice in Auburn, New York in 1990. In 2003 he moved to Florida.

“As an oral surgeon, most of my work is pulling teeth, doing implants, doing biopsies of lesions or cysts in the mouth. I have the luxury of being able to put patients to sleep, which many dentists don’t. I can do implants or pull wisdom teeth while they’re asleep. They wake up and everything is done.”

The extensive training and experience with intravenous sedation and outpatient general anesthesia allows Dr. Karpinski to serve the community in another way. Dr. Karpinski is trained to assess children and adults with special needs, who may require dental plans specially adapted for them. He offers customized dental care for people who are affected by mental, psychological or physical disabilities and who may require additional assistance during dental treatment.

“Some special needs patients can’t sit in the chair quietly for long, so we can put them to sleep and do fillings or cleanings while they’re asleep.”

Dr. Karpinski practices a full scope of oral and maxillofacial surgery, with expertise that includes corrective jaw surgery.

“Maxillofacial,” Dr. Karpinski explained, “refers to the upper jaw, known as the maxilla. We can fix broken jaws. But most of what we do is extractions, implants, helping people with pain.”

The office of Dr. John D. Karpinski PA is located at 2215 Nebraska Ave. Suite 1-D, Fort Pierce, next to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center. For more information, call (772) 252-4299, email, or visit

(1) comment


This is wonderful charity work, but I often wonder why everyone chooses to go out of the country to do this? Surely there are a lot of people in this country that have never seen a dentist either--we still have a crushing need here for help, but appears to be "out of fashion" these days to help "at home" [sad]

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