VERO BEACH - The Source, a ministry that serves the homeless and needy in Indian River County, recently teamed up with retired prosthodontist Dr. Thomas Balshi of Vero Beach to address the dental needs of clients of The Source. The program is called Dignity Smiles.

“Our clients enter our culinary training program to become eligible to apply for a job in the food industry,” said Executive Director Anthony Zorbaugh. “In proving that they are ready to go out and make a respectable income, many have dental issues that affect their appearance and ultimately could deter them from getting a job.”

Dr. Balshi introduced Mr. Zorbaugh to Dr. Sadesh Kumar, the founder of Wickham Dental Care. A full service, community-oriented dentistry Dr. Kumar specializes in esthetics, orthodontics and implants.

For those clients who are fully trained by The Source and eligible to enter the Dignity Smiles program, there is a protocol established that will ensure they are prepared to work as a respectful and dignified individual. The program will allow for one client per quarter.

For some simple procedures it may take several visits, with treatment valued at $5,000. For other clients that require whole mouth restorations through surgery or implants, it could take up to three months of visits valued at more than $35,000. All of this would be covered through the Dignity Smiles program.

The first client to receive a new smile through Dignity Smiles, as well as a new job, is Brigitte. Now 60, Brigitte was born and raised in Gifford.

Needing assistance in finding a job, Brigitte turned to the Dining with Dignity Culinary Program of The Source, which provides professional training to homeless and needy students in preparation for acquiring food-related employment within the community. Following the completion of the program and graduating with a food handler certification, Brigitte qualified to receive upper and lower dentures as part of the Dignity Smiles program.

Her treatment is complete, and Brigitte now has a full set of removable dentures.

Brigitte’s new smile has improved her social skills, and has given her the confidence, along with the proper training, to interview for and obtain a position as line cook at Mr. Manatees Restaurant in Vero Beach.

“Dr. Kumar and his dental team, which includes Christian Campian, the laboratory technician who oversaw all the construction and custom coloring of the dentures, pride themselves on fast and efficient treatment protocols,” said Dr. Balshi. “Brigitte’s treatment was swift, efficient and well executed.”

“Just like Brigitte, this new program will allow our clients to smile again,” said Mr. Zorbaugh. It helps change their mental and physical health. The pandemic has covered their faces with a mask. As they become ready to show their inner being without a mask, proper dentistry will make a difference in their confidence and their lives. That’s what we do at The Source. Change lives.”

For more information on Dignity Smiles, contact Anthony Zorbaugh at tony.zorbaugh@iamthesource.org or call (772) 564-0202, Ext. 204. For more information on Dr. Sadesh Kumar, visit www.wickhamdentalcare.com.

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