“The first time Aide Romero came to the office was to serve as her mother’s interpreter,” says Hayward Office Manager Jessica Cortez. “When her mother asked if there was anything that Dr. Sood could do to help her daughter, we noticed that Aide had been talking with her hand over her mouth.

“Eventually Aide explained that 10 years ago she was a drug addict and a gang member,” continues Jessica. “During that time, her teeth were not a priority for her, but since then she’s turned her life around. She left the gang many years ago so she could be a better mother to her four children.

“I discussed Aide’s situation with Dr. Sood, then we nominated her to be the office’s second Community Smile Project [CSP] patient,” adds Jessica.

A Path to a Better Life
“Aide had a severe infection and most of her teeth needed to come out,” explains Dr. Sarika Sood, a Director of Clinical Care (DCC) for Northern California and Lead Dentist at the Hayward office. “She is so young, only 29, and when she heard she needed dentures, she cried. To help ease her into this change, we’re doing her treatment in two phases. She’s received her upper plate and when she’s ready, we’ll fit her for the lower.”

Dr. Sood and the entire Hayward team are pleased to be able to help people in need through the CSP. “We are so privileged,” says Dr. Sood. “We can go out to eat, travel and do whatever we want. When others have so little I like to be able to help them. It made all of us feel good, knowing we improved her life by giving her the dental care she cannot afford.”

“No words can explain my happiness,” wrote Aide on her Patient Reflection Form. “Thank you for helping me feel good about my smile again!”