When Mary Gallaher was a sophomore in college, she fainted and took the brunt of the fall with her face. “When I came to, I was spitting out what I thought were pebbles,” she recalls. “But they weren’t pebbles – they were my teeth.”
Mary’s injuries were so bad, her mother didn’t recognize her. “My face was such an atrocity,” recalls Mary, “Mom sat down and cried. She knew I needed plastic surgery, but we couldn’t afford it.”
Mary and her mother found dental care, but it was far from ideal. “The first dentist we saw grabbed the tooth that was hanging and pulled it off―no Novocain, no gas, no compassion. It was excruciating,” says Mary, whose raw nerve was left exposed in the interim. A week later she found another dentist who devised a temporary fix—not a bridge, which they couldn’t afford, but temporary teeth bonded by a steel bar and drilled into her real teeth.
Ten years later, Mary was finally able to have a bridge made. When that bridge broke recently, “the trauma started all over again,” she recounts. Mary went to the Monarch Dental® office in Euless, Texas, to get it repaired, but that wasn’t possible. Not only did she need a new bridge, she needed a larger one, and since she’s on a fixed income she simply couldn’t afford it.
This time, however, she wasn’t turned away or treated harshly. Lead Dentist Dr. Chaitra ShanthaGowda (Dr. Gowda) asked if Mary might be interested in being a candidate for the Smiles for Everyone Foundation’s Community Smile Project, which supports Smile Brands affiliated practices in providing free dental care to those in need. “I started crying right then,” says Mary.
Mary calls Dr. Gowda, her team and SFE Foundation Manager Crystal Strait her “angels” and praises them for their exceptional care, compassion and professionalism.
“I tell everyone what your organization did for me, and it gives them hope,” says Mary. “My friends and family are so grateful that you would do this for me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”