For years, Michael struggled with intense dental pain. He was missing teeth and had broken several, which became infected. When he first went to the Bright Now!® Dental office in Portland, Oregon, he couldn’t chew without major discomfort.

Office Manager Stacy Slater remembers Michael’s first visit in June of 2013. “Michael was passive and quiet. He was apprehensive about the dentist and any treatment; he was really struggling with the pain.” The doctors fitted him with a partial to replace missing teeth and provide a more stable chewing function. However, Michael needed more extensive work, but because he wasn’t working, he couldn’t afford it.

Then Michael’s mother stepped in with some financial help so could receive treatments little by little. After a root canal and some extractions, Michael started feeling better and got motivated to do more, but pretty soon, both he and his mother were out of funds.

Dr. Chris Kooning wanted to do some pro bono treatments for Michael, but as Stacy explains, “it was beyond our scope at the time. Michael is such a laid back, comical and humble guy – he really pulled at our heart strings!”

That’s when she learned about the Smiles for Everyone Foundation’s Community Smile Project and nominated Michael for free dental care. “When I called to tell him he was selected to receive free dental care, his mom started crying. She was relieved he could continue his care, and so thankful to us for taking such good care of him.”

Many hours, crowns, partials and treatments later, Michael is a changed man. He has a job he likes, is confident and is no longer in pain. Now, he walks in with smiles and high fives for the staff, joking with Dr. Kooning about skateboarding accidents. Says Stacy, “Michael is grateful beyond belief.”